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Dr. B. R. AMBEDKAR 
OPEN UNIVERSITY 

LIBRARY 

HYDERABAD-500 033 



Dr. B. R. AMBEDKAR OPEN UNIVERSITY 
LIBRARY 



Call No. 'Jz *r~>-s Accession No. ,A/- 

Author ; 7***}?^ 
Title ; V*// /o 

This book should be returned on or before the date 
last marked below. 



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>i 

81 



DARKNESS 

The Story of the European Radio War 



BY 

E. TANGYE LEAN 



LONDON 
SECKER AND WARBURG 



& Warb 
Street* 



I-td. 




THIS BOOK XS PRODUCED 

TTB OOlOX^OKMLmr \V1TM TUB 



FOREWORD 

THIS is not a guidebook, handbook or Official History of the War. I 
have been too much involved in it to be impartial. I wanted as 
far as possible to write only of what I had heard with my own 
ears, choosing Germany's offensive against France instead of her 
attack on Jugoslavia, reporting speakers on whom I had my own 
notes, and where my languages gave out and my ignorance of 
different audiences set in, it did not worry me that the treatment 
became sketchy. The German Radio stood no chance of a 
fair hearing from me who listened to it as a counsel for the 
prosecution, and the news-service from London, which made up 
nine-tenths of the B.B.C. output, is represented only by a few 
inadequate paragraphs. 

News loses most of its interest a few hours after its birth, but 
all good radio tends to make less good reading, and the best propa- 
ganda is sometimes boring after six months. I have tried to save the 
reader the boredom and monotony which are part of the propaganda 
war. I did not want to sacrifice a script by Thomas Matin for the 
sake of one of the more numerous and representative, but less 
memorable talks by, say, Tangye Leah. Other details which are 
subjective or inaccurate include my views on various speakers, 
the inadequate attention to Moscow and the sketches of exiled 
announcers, which had to be " scrambled " for obvious reasons. 

I have to thank Mr. Kurt Hubschmantt, of Picture Post, for the 
unofficial photographs taken in the B.B.C ; Mr. Bernard King, of 
. the News Chronicle, for arranging them ; Mr. Arthur Fhdps, who 
drew the maps, and Mrs. R. A. Martin for compiling the index. 
I have had the invaluable help of Mr. Weidenfeld, co-author of 
The Goebbeh Experiment, and without his erudition I should have 
had to leave bigger gaps in the story. 

E. T. L. 
November 1942 



CONTENTS 

PAQ1 

THE OPINING SOUNDS 7 

THE WAR IN GERMAN 25 

The Battlefields 25 

The German Machine % 27 

Studio 5 * 37 

The Front Line 47 

Radio Criminals 51 

How to Speak to Germany 64 

Dawn* Culture and Revolvers 68 

Army, Navy and Workers 79 

Comments and Commentators 86 

THE RADIO MAP 91 

THE WAR IN FRENCH 104 

Ferdonnet and the French Collapse 104 

Political Warfare Documentary in 

Sieburg and the French Recovery 142 

TECHNICALITIES 171 

Jamming 171 

The Mote and the Beam 176 

Ears to the Sky 180 

Ears to the Ground 183 

EUROPE UNDER THE RAUBORDNUNG 187 

Colonel Britton in English 189 

Colonel Stevens in Italian 193 

THB FULLY OCCUPIED 200 

I. The Western Seaboard 203 

n. Towards the Soviet Union 206 

ni. Russian Steamroller 211 

tv. The Preoccupied 2x8 

COMMENTS, CRITICISMS, CONCLUSIONS 224 

APPENDIX I . . . . , . . . . 239 

APPENDIX II ........ 240 

241 



MAPS 



GERMAN OFFENSIVE IN 1941 90 

THE ATTACK IN FRENCH iio 

B.B.C. OFFENSIVE EVE OF 1943 186 

THE LISTENERS 219 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

(With due acknowledgment to Copyright holders) 

FACIKO VAOB 

THE FRONT LINE. (B.B.C.) Frontispiece 

OLD JITTBRFOOT TUNES IN TO LONDON. ..... 56 

DIFFERENT GERMANYS : 

Thomas Mann. (Paul Popper) ...... 80 

Friedrich Siebuig. (Jonathan Cape, Ltd.) .... 80 

GERMAN STUDIO IN THE B.B.C (Author) ..... 8z 

B.B.C. EUROPEAN CONFERENCE : 

N. F. Newsome (Director) and his Editors. (Author) . . 96 

CENTRAL NEWS DESK OF THE B.B.C. EUROPEAN SERVICE. (Author) . 97 
OUTSIDE BRUSSELS TOWN HALL, May 1940 . . . . .128 

GERMAN ARMS-WORKER LISTENS TO THE ATTACK ON FRANCE . . 129 
DEMONSTRATION ORGANIZED BY DB GAULLE FROM LONDON, LYONS, July 14, 1942 144 
GERMAN PROPAGANDA AGAINST FRENCH SPEAKERS IN LONDON . . 145 
SHORT-WAVE AERIALS. (B.B.C.) . . . . . .176 

MONITORS AT WORK. (Weekly Illustrated) ..... 177 

" LONDON CALLING EUROPE " ON THE AIR. (Author) . . .192 
COLONEL STEVENS AS THE ITALIANS SEE HIM AND IN REALITY. (Author) . 193 

EUROPE'S ELDER SPOKESMEN. (B.B.C.) 208 

EDITOR'S OFFICE IN LONDON BEFORE THE PROGRAMME m CZECH. (Author) 209 



xo 
A4Y FATHER 

WHO TJSED XO JPAV MANY BILLS 
IN MANY FOREIGN CURRENCIES 



THE OPENING SOUNDS 

'* / know that fewer people core won over by the written word then by 
ward, ana that every great movement on this earth owes its growth to great speakers 
and not to great writers." ADOLF HTTLBR : Preface to " M4fa Kdmpf ". 

44 Hitler's thesis in the early stage of the movement wan * the agitator should only 
speak at night. Then his audience is tired and incapable of resistance.' " RUDOLF 
OIDKN:" Hitler". 

" ... the voice of a chained dog. . . ."THOMAS MANN : " Message to 
Germany ", January 1942. 

As the Second World War broke out, Hitler increased his speeches 
to one a fortnight. Hoarse with threats* distorted by inadequate 
loudspeakers, they had been growing louder since 1933, until at km 
they were unchallenged. Their tng^nfag penetrated the difficulties 
of language, so that one could listen in the company of a partly 
comprehending crowd outside radio shops in the City of London. 
" The enemy/ 9 said Hitler, " will receive an answer that will deprive 
him of hearing and sight. ... If I should be struck down in this 
battle, I shall first be followed by party-comrade Gdring ; if Gttriag 
should be struck down, he will be followed by party-comrade Hess." 
It was the first day of the campaign against Poland, and a fortnight 
later he was shouting from Danzig : " In ftiture we shall take an eye 
for an eye, and for every bomb we shall answer with five bombs ". 
A fortnight later in the Reichstag, he turned on England and France. 
" The moment may come when we use a weapon which is not yet 
known and with which we could not ourselves be attacked. . . . I 
have carried out my solemn word to put an end to the Versailles 
Treaty. . . . Germany will win !" The group of Londoners could 
only pick out the words Gdring* Hess, Versailles, but these h*d 
become the recognizable notes of a battle-cry they knew and which 
found them without an. answer. The impassioned sequence of 
climax and anti-climax held them uneasily on the pavement while 
the roars of the Reichstag members welding the sentences together, 
emphasized their passivity. 

Twenty years earlier other voices had been heard there. They 
began on the second Monday in November 1918 with the crkte of 
newsboys. Office staffs in the City scrambled downstairs and in a 

7 



8 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

few minutes the streets wore full of people who shouted, sang, kissed 
strangers and bought flags from hawkers possessed of advance 
information. Some, who wanted an assurance that their joy would 
not be withdrawn, pressed into Downing Street and were rewarded 
by die appearance of Lloyd George, who smiled and said : " I am 
glad to tdl you that the war will be over at eleven o'clock today ". 
The cheeringwas so loud that he felt for something more ceremonious, 
and added : " This British Empire has done a great share towards 
winning the war, and we are now entitled to shout ". The cheering 
became wilder ; it filled the tiny street and re-echoed between the 
Foreign Office and the famous Georgian fagade of No. 10 where 
housemaids waved dusters and handkerchiefs from the windows. 

It could still be heard in the distance when Winston Churchill 
sat down to dinner with the Prime Minister. Churchill was hopeful 
but alarmed by die prospect of revolution ; he pressed for a dozen 
great ships " crammed with provisions " to be rushed to Hamburg, 
and was glad to see that Lloyd George liked the suggestion. Both 
statesmen were aware of the uproar in the streets outside ; it under- 
lay their voices and spread into their thoughts. 

Further cast, on the outskirts of the City it was quieter, and the 
editor of the Daily News wrote his leader calmly. The war, he 
reflected, had been between ideas rather than nations. " The doc- 
trine of despotic militarism," he wrote, " has made its last bid for 
the world and has been overthrown by the idea of freedom and the 
moral governance of the world." 

If the phrases had grown a little dull, it was because they had 

hecn used for cgntnrfcs tn describe the policy that had huilt England's 

greatness. Queen Elizabeth, supporting the liberties taken by her 
seamen, might have used them ; Adam Smith had shown their 
economic implications when he mapped with approval the ideal of 
unrestricted capitalism; Victorian England had grown and pro- 
liferated on the " idea of freedom " which seemed to spread hand 
in hand with the "moral governance of the world". Was there any 
reason to doubt that the future would return smaller profits on the 
old idea, or that a nation just knocked from its military pedestal 
would rise again to denounce it ? 

The future author of Mein Kampf spent the night more or less 
without sleep in a hospital bed in die small German town of Pase- 
walk. He tells us, in his peculiar tawdry manner which was to 
become known as Httlerdeutsch, that a few weeks previously yellow 



THff OPENING SOUNDS 9 

cross gas released by the English had turned his eyes into " red-hot 
coals ". For a while he was blind, and his voice, which he greatly 
valued, had its timbre affected. But now it was die news that kept 
him awake. A pastor had informed the patients that the Hohen- 
zollerns had abdicated, and the Republic which had been formed 
was submitting to Armistice terms. Hitler heard this' on die roth, 
but the effects lasted. " It was impossible," he writes, " for me to 
stay and listen any more. Darkness enclosed me as I blundered and 
stumbled back to my ward and buried my aching head between 
the blankets and pillow." He had suffered from a complicated 
neurosis since childhood, and more probably it was the stimulation 
of this by Germany's defeat, than English gas, which made him 
collapse. Undistinguished by much else, it is possible that his 
voice would never have been heard at another moment of history, 
but the peculiar shape of his personality lay in -wait for a special 
political situation. 

The freedom projected into the future by the Daily News evoked 
no automatic approval in Germany. The German JEmpire had not 
been slowly accreted through centuries of seafaring in which the 
enterprise of individuals brought profit for themselves and territory 
to the crown they served. By an opposite process and on land instead 
of at sea, Germany had grown in sudden abrupt expansions. Her 
emergence from medievalism had been delayed by an anarchy of 
bishoprics, margravates, abbecies and petty states; when their 
suppression was achieved, it was by the Prussian Army, and the 
dominating ideal became as a result military discipline instead of 
free commerce, the ruling caste soldiers, not businessmen. 

Deutschosterreich muss meder zuruck zum grossen deutschen 
Mutterlande, cries the first page of Mein Kampf. Back, back to the 
motherland 1 It was the economic need, explaining centuries of 
aggression. But as we go on with Hitler's statement of it, we find 
a sudden irrational twist. " German Austria must go back to the 
great German motherland. But not because of economic calculations 
of any kind. No, no ! Even if this union was indifferent from an 
economic point of view, even if it was pernicious, it must take place. 
The same blood belongs to the same Reich." What unstated motives 
inspired this new, more spectacular outbreak of the German neurosis? 

The child of a minor customs official, Adolf Hitler in the 'eighties 
had been devoted to his mother and had shown a corresponding 
hatred of his father. Senile, arrogant and overbearing, this employee 



to VOICES IN THE DAKfcNBSS 

of the Habsburgs demanded that his youngest son should become t 
government official lite himself. But Adolf reacted surprisingly. 
At school he had developed into "tin kleiner Rfidelsfiihrer ", a 
gang-leader, Whose passions were already spent in politics. He dis- 
covered that shortly before his birth a " battle of heroes " had been 
fought against the French Emperor, a battle from which the Habs- 
burgs and their servants had absented themselves. The gangs he 
led and fought played their games within this framework. Good 
gangsters must unite against the Habsburg dynasty which, to safe- 
guard its own petty privileges, prevented union with Germany ; 
they wore forbidden emblems, saved the money they might have 
spent on food for their war chest, and greeted one another with 
" Heil ! " "I think an inborn talent for speaking now began to 
form itself in the rather strenuous arguments I used to have with 
my comrades, 19 the adult Hitler explains. But when he mobilized 
his oratory against his father, that loyal servant of the Habsburgs 
lost his temper and would not modify his demand that Adolf should 
enter the imperial service. 

No doubt the old man felt intuitively that this first political 
conflict was in fact rooted in Adolf s peculiar character j dearly 
the boy's rages could not be explained by politics alone, any more 
than they could forty-five years later when he gained control over 
Germany. " Human beings," Hitler admits, " are the product of 
their upbringing, and this, unfortunately, begins almost at birth." 1 

1 The details of a neurosis are best confined to text-books, and text-books 
differ $ but a Freudian hypothesis fits the facts of Hitler's childhood with interesting 
precision. Analysing savage customs in Totem and Taboo y Freud draws an arche- 
type of primitive society in which the young men unite to destroy the father of 
the tribe* Their motive, he concludes from the similarity of the picture with a 
certain type of patient, is envy of the father's rights over the mother. They wish 
to destroy him in order to gain control over her. Applying this to Hitler's childhood 
we should conclude that the gang warfare he directed against the Habsburgs was 
in fact directed against his father, who wore their imperial insignia on his uniform. 
His fellow gangsters were the equivalent of the young tribesmen, and Germany 
which he liked to refer to as the " Motherland " instead of the usual " Fatherland " 
stood to the mother to be won by the destruction of the ageing father. In the 
neurotic these CTMtionff of childhood became fixated* ayicE are transferred in adult 
life to successive people and successive situations which recall the originals. 
(National Socialists must unite against Hindenburg and the decrepit statesmen 
of the Republic ; Germans must unite against the senile Chamberlain ***** the 
degenerate democracies; Germans demand Ltbcnsraum, and are prepared to 
spill blood to get it) 

Whatever its exact shape, Hitler's neurosis was already canalised into a political 
mould which remained far more rigid than die deviations of his policy suggest. 



THE OPENING SOUNDS zs 

He was not to change very much, but would he find a bigger {day- 
ground than the woods and fields of Upper Austria ? 

It was not, of course, accidental that Hitler's character was 
formed among a race whose pathology dangerously resembled his 
own. While the Daily News leader-writer proceeded with his 
traditional English article, Hitler dealt with the situation as a German. 
He collapsed in nervous prostration, and decided that the defeat 
had simply not happened; Germany had been " stabbed in the back" 
by a " group of despicable Jewish Criminals ". This, he tells us, was 
the conclusion he reached in the hospital at Pasewalk, and he 
added to it a course of action characteristically his own. Germans, 
it seemed to him, should immediately unite to overthrow the new 
enemy, the enemy at home. Two days after the Armistice, with 
the decision to take to politics already made, he left for Munich. 

There is nothing easier than to be wise, like this chapter, after 
the event, but the statesmen who framed the Versailles Treaty were 
determined to save themselves from the revenge of history by being 
wise before it. They did not propose to be too harsh, and they 
absolved themselves from this charge, while putting an obstacle 
against the spread of Bolshevism, by safeguarding the nucleus 
of the Reichswehr. But lenience was equally out of the question, 
and they accordingly provided for a reparation commission to 
inflict on the new German Republic stinging fiyiflTigfcl penalties. 
They were wise enough to leave an interval of two years for the 
evaporation of victory emotions before the amount was fixed, but by 
the summer of the second year, " the lava," to quote Lloyd George, 
" had not yet cooled ". Reparation totals are almost meaningless, 
but the immediate demands were real enough to have shaken a 
regime with roots planted deep in the tradition of the German mind. 
The Republic, instinctively regarded with distrust in Germany, but 
by ourselves with hope, was dangerously weakened ; and the Amy, 
its inevitable master, was kept ready in existence. 1 Making the 
prospects of peace more hopeless still, America, the designer of the 
new world order, withdrew her massive influence from Europe. By 
the German standard of Brest Litovsk, Versailles was a miracle of 
generosity j but it was the supreme muddle of the war. 

1 Ludendorff wrote as early as in 1919 : " After our great downfall, let us, in 
memory of the heroes who hav e fallen f or Germany's greamesib the heroes wbc*m the 
country so badly needs, learn once again to become Germans ". Five years later 
Hitler echoes : " The cause for which we fought during the Great War was the 
noblatt and highest that man could strive for ". 



12 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

Meanwhile England herself was getting bade to that traditional 
path of development which twisted as tentatively forward as her 
roads before die advent of the motor-car. War memorials were built 
for the men who had died in defence of freedom, but jobs and 
houses were needed for those who returned to enjoy it. The state 
had at once to assume a new responsibility. The Unemployment 
Assurance Act, passed in 1920, acknowledged this to an extent beyond 
any previous legislation. Besides the unproductive payment of the 
" dote "* relief work on a small scale was planned on roads, land 
drainage, water supply, forestry. But unemployment was not seen 
as a disease Which must at all costs be eradicated; little was done to 
mitigate the humiliation of the men who queued up week in, week out, 
to accept the conscience money of the state. The homes for the 
returned heroes made a better story. For the first time a Housing 
Act obliged local authorities to take the initiative in providing 
tolerable living conditions, and within ten years half a million state- 
subsidized houses had been built. That was a great deal, but let us 
look at the kind of streets in which they were built. 

Cities, according to the great social critic, Lewis Mumford, are 
to a nation very much what dreams are to the individual. They 
show in brick and concrete its desires and fears and hopes ; their 
lay-out reveals the forces in control, their harmony the common 
ideals of the inhabitants. When Sir Josiah Stamp declared that 
" except for a hundred or two buildings, London needs to be rebuilt 
from end to end ", he expressed a feeling that had spread beyond the 
pioneers of planning; but unfortunately the plans had a way 
of getting blurred as soon as they were drawn. The Daily Mail 
and we must listen attentively to the views of the Daily Mail in 
this period warned the nation that "until the Government 
and local authorities abandon the housing schemes, which they 
should never have undertaken, there will be no real solution to 
the problem ". Similar declarations on the problems confronting 
post-war democracy were to be read at nearly two million breakfast 
tables daily throughout the 'twenties. 

An ancestor resurrected after two or three centuries would have 
been astonished above all by the incoherence of the cities. As he 
tried to find his way to the town-hall under the impression that a 
town was ordered logically around its civic and religious offices, he 
would have made for a score of buildings whose pillared and frescoed 
importance could only puzzle him when he was told they were 



THE OPENING SOUNDS 13 

cinemas and garages. The demolition of Nash's Regent Street for 
the sake of " wonder shops resembling palaces 'V wduld not have 
worried him as an aesthetic disaster so much as a further symptom 
of this internal lunacy which prevented him from finding his way. 
For what relation was there between all these buildings and streets ? 
they seemed to have nothing in common but the fact of standing 
next to one another. If, as he was beginning to suspect, there was 
no relation, it implied that he never would find his way. It might 
even mean that the crowds themselves had nothing to do with the 
buildings that they just worked or bought things there and went 
tens of miles away to sleep with their families in communities 
sterilized by separation from the life of the central town. Perhaps 
even there were vast areas of hovels somewhere which atoned for 
the wealth scattered here on everything but town-halls and cathedrals. 
Perhaps even the town halls were out there with the families, or 
perhaps they were here as well. On the whole he felt like returning 
to the seventeenth century. 

We must grant him the kindness of release, for in the early 
'twenties a further development appeared in the sky over these cities. 
A schoolteacher of Leytonstone wrote to the Daily Mail that one of 
her small boys " pressed closely to me and inquired in an awestruck 
voice : Did I think it was an angel writing in the sky ? " In fact it 
was a commercial aeroplane, and the message it spelt was not celestial, 
but successively VIM, CASTROL and DAILY MAIL. " It was the 
largest advertisement the world had ever known/' said the Daify 
Mail. " The words written in silvery smoke from an aeroplane 
flying at 100 miles an hour 2\ miles above Hyde Park, were 
seen in the morning over an area of 100 square miles, and 
were read simultaneously by 3,000,000 people, an unparalleled 
achievement." 

In the next few years the achievement was paralleled all over 
the country. Above the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley it 



1 " Perhaps the most remarkable piece of charing London ever seen is the 
rebuilding of shops, etc. in Regent Street, the Crown leases in which are now 
expiring. Certainly a returned exile today would hardly know that famous 
thoroughfare today if he inspected it, starting from the palatial new shops in Oxford 
Circus. . . . In all cases, far more imposing erections are taking the place of those 
demolished, and Hash's famous architectural scheme is being ruthlessly set aside. 
The sweeping quadrant i* going, and by another year or so the whole street, with 
its transformed Piccadilly Circus, will reveal a New Regent Street, with wonder 
shops resembling palaces." Z)fli7y Mail Year Book, 1924. 



14 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

appeared iti flame-coloured smoke ; a year later it was over Man- 
chest&j Liv&tpool, Rugby, Stafford* Derby and .Nottingham j it 
wai over seventeen towns in one day ; the pilot even extended his 
activities to Berlin. When the Timts stigmatized it as " an indecent 
form of advertisement ", the organizer replied that those who disliked 
die sight had the " whole of rural beautiful England in which to 
catty on their contemplation undisturbed. Let them, therefore, 
leave those who have to engage in commerce freedom to do so in 
the commercial centres/' 

To select the Daify Mail as the voice of post-war disturbance in 
England is as natural as to examine the rise of Hitler in Germany. 
The Daily Mail became for many a " national institution " j it 
took die place of something that was missing. Not only did it pro- 
vide free insurance for two million adherents, it advised diem on 
personal problems, suggested how they should spend their money, 
canalized the overflow of their energies by awarding prizes for golf 
competitions, " ideal homes " and swimming the English Channel. 
But the motives which dominated this powerful undertaking were 
Hot simply an altruistic desire for die nation's and die individual's 
wdfiire; after Northdiffe's death, the Daily Afof'ft interests became 
more and more identified with those of the commercial firms which 
advertised in its pages. If it dashed with someone as it did with 
Stanley Baldwin who owed allegiance to other ideals, the full flood 
of its editorial invective was undammed. 

"When the call came to me to form a Government," said 
Baldwin, the dominating political figure of this period, " one of my 
first thoughts was that it should be a government of which Harrow 
should not be ashamed." His sense of values was a satisfying 
patchwork assembled from the English Public School, the Livery 
Clubs of the City of London, and the landed gentry of Stourport 
afid Worcester ; he was aware that the dignity of these institutions 
had been great, and although they were already becoming the 
survivals of an earlier culture, he preferred them to any others he 
could see, and applied their standards to a world now swayed by a 
different balance of forces. " In the growth of our big industrial 
centres today," he exhorted the businessmen of Leeds in the middle 
'twenties, " let us, while there is yet time look forward and plan to 
see where the factories of the future are to be> and where the houses 
.of the future are to be, and where the open spaces and the playing 
fields are to be, and how people are to be got to and from their work. 



THE OPENING SOUNDS 15 

Ml these things need thought, sympathy, imagination and vision. 
In a gathering like this there are men who are capable of doing most 
useful work of this kind" The Daily Mail saw in such appeals an 
idealism which should have been repressed by the leader of das Con- 
servative Party in favour of ruthless national and class interests, 
No doubt it was sentimental to appeal to the businessmen of Leeds 
as if they were Harrovian prefects, for sanctions stronger than 
oratory were needed to plan the cities of the twentieth century; 
but Stanley Baldwin was trying to achieve something whose necessity 
the Daily Mail had not even perceived He was trying, in after- 
dinner speeches, to solve the essential problem of the twentieth 
century : to preserve the freedom of the individual while warding 
off die increasingly serious disturbances which resulted from its 
abuse. 

Soon the oratory of British statesmen was to stammer more 
seriously in this effort to reconcile irreconcilablesi We can 
best hear its pain at the turning point between peace and war, 
in 1932, when " the habit of saying smooth things and uttering 
pious platitudes and sentiments to gain applause, without relation 
to the underlying facts ", was according to an impatient Winston 
Churchill, "more pronounced than it has ever been in my 
experience ". 

That April Sir John Simon submitted to the Geneva Conference 
a compromise resolution on disarmament. " In seeking to apply the 
principle of qualitative disarmament as defined in the present 
resolution," it read, " the conference is of opinion that the range of 
land, sea and air armaments should be examined by the special 
committees with a view to selecting those weapons whose character 
is most specifically offensive and threatening to civilians, or more 
efficacious against national defence." 

There is enough pathos in that, but within two days Ramsay 
MacDonald had the painful task of addressing a luncheon party of 
the delegates at the Hotel des Bergues. " We wish," he said, 
" to do all in our power to lay those ghosts, so that this earth will be 
inhabited in security, in peace and comfort ; and you can depend 
upon it that what I say today will be said by Government after 
Government in Great Britain." The sentence, his listeners must 
have noticed, had staggered and broken in half; its passion for the 
removal of fear from the world was perfectly genuine, but he cpu!4 
offer oo assurance that it would be removed 



26 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

Got more voice, a different one, must be heard from that critical 
year. " Fascism/' said Mussolini later in the summer, " does not 
believe in the possibility or utility of perpetual peace, and is against 
pacifism, which implies renunciation of the struggle* Only war 
brings out the full force of human energy by compelling the people 
to have the courage to face it. Fascism does not believe in numbers 
as numbers. It denies that government can be organized by the 
periodical consultation of die masses. Attempts to establish world 
peace will fail." 

"Will fitil. . . ." In this speaker one feels there was once 
perhaps a struggle, but the struggle was given up. How dear the 
voice is ; how sober in spite of its braggadocio, how its realism 
refreshes the ear after the stumbling excursions of British statesmen 
into Utopia. So, at any rate, it seemed to some people. For here 
at least was someone liberated from scruples about national and 
personal rapacity, who had eliminated conscience and the difficult 
striving after an ideal world. To many Englishmen it sounded like a 
joke. 

Meanwhile events had been occurring in Germany which were 
startling enough to confirm the fears of the worst pessimists. Early 
in 1921 when war passions were to have been cooled the London 
Agreement fixed German liability for reparations at one hundred and 
thirty-two milliards of marks to be paid at a steadily rising rate, about 
half being due between 1942 and 1963. In the Odeon Square at 
Munich thousands of nationalists demonstrated against the Repub- 
lican Government. Adolf Hitler tried to speak, but at that moment 
the military band struck up, and he could not be heard. Within 
a few days he had taken Munich's largest hall, and this time his 
voice was dear. 

It had recovered from the worst effects of the yellow-cross gas, 
and he had trained it carefully. Schooled and paid by the Army to 
spy on the Communists, he had himself joined a " German Workers* 
Party ", founded by the locksmith, Drexler, and was busy transform- 
ing it into a tT l i1** flnt and subversive organization with ultra-nationalist 
ideals. He had discovered an instrument called propaganda, or 
more accurately he had elaborated with intuitive genius and scientific 
means die system of persuasion he had already used in childhood. 
Propaganda, he said, in definition, is " to influence large masses of 
people, to concentrate on a few essential points, never-to allow these 
to be lost sight of, to enunciate principles in the form of a categorical 



THE OPENING SOUNDS 17 

statement, to exercise the greatest possible patience in disseminating 
ideas, and to be infinitely patient in awaiting results ". 

Ludendorff and Hitler; who were soon to join forces in the Munich 
Putsch, had returned from die war with the conviction that they 
had been stabbed in the front as well as the back. " We were 
hypnotized by the enemy propaganda," says Ludendorff, "as a 
rabbit is by a snake. It was exceptionally clever. ... It did not 

set out to tell the truth " Like Hitler, he saw the British 

leaflets, which were in fact models of simplicity, as a system of lies 
worked out with inhuman cunning ; and concluded that if Germany 
had no answer it was simply because she had not the means. " We 
were lacking in the necessary facilities,' 9 he complains. " We had 
no world telegraph service, with its chain of cable and wireless 
stations." 

From the start Hitler proposed to make good these and similar 
deficiencies that the genius of the Imperial Army held responsible 
for defeat. Just as a stammerer will sometimes more than overcome 
his defect, till he speaks with greater clarity than his fellows, so he 
intended the voice of nationalist Germany to be supreme. 

In England the Daily Mail was pushing up its sale to two million 
copies daily when Hitler purchased the Volkischer Beobaehter, an 
obscure weekly sheet with another name ; but the glaring red posters 
which began to dominate Munich, if less novel than skywriting, 
were the biggest advertisements Bavaria had ever seen. His second 
mass meeting was twice as big as the first ; soon more than twenty 
thousand were attending regularly. 

Humiliated as only Germans are humiliated by defeat in war, 
his followers had seen their families all but starving under the 
continued blockade ; they had survived a period when their Govern- 
ment, to strike back at the French invasion of the Ruhr, had inflated 
the mark until a fortune would scarcely buy a loaf; and finally they 
saw waiting for their jobs a population of unemployed numerous 
enough to people Scandinavia. Free Insurance would not have 
been adequate to still the fever of these minds, and the voice they 
chose to speak for them was less inhibited by scruples than Stanley 
Baldwin's. They were ready for the childhood cry : Bin Volk ! 
Bin Reich/ EinFuhrer! 

Hitler allowed ambiguity to surround his intentions. " I do not 
think," wrote Wyndham Lewis in a study published in 1931, a that 
if he had his way he would bring fire and the sword across otherwise 



it VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

peaceful frontiers. He would, I am positive, remain peacefully at 
home, fully occupied with the internal problems of die Third 
Reich, And as regards, again, die vexed question of * antisemitic ' 
policy of his party, in that also I believe Hitler himself once 
he had obtained power would show increasing moderation and 
tolerance. In the Dritte Reich, as conceived by Hitler, that great 
Jewish man of science, Einstein, would, I think, be honoured as 
he deserves* * . .* l 

In France and on this side of the Channel there were all too few 
outside the Left who were able to watch Hitler's rise with the feelings 
of unmixed dismay which alone might have checked him. Under 
the " Peace Terror " of the 'thirties the Left committed its own crime 
by demanding that the Empire should behave like a lamb in die hope 
that its example might reorientate the instincts of tigers. But there 
were more subtle and equally pernicious refusals to face reality 
among those who lacked an interest in politics. The lights illuminat- 
ing the lives of the " bright young things " had been switched on to 
disperse die General Strike and unemployment, to drown silence 
and good music, to distract from die mechanics of the trade cycle. 
When the Brighter London Society was founded in 1922, it was not 
die slums that it proposed to brighten. Informing its readers in 
die same year of the existence of broadcasting in America, The Times 
emphasized that here was " at once a solution of the terrible problem 
of die dullness of village life and a counter-attraction to the public 
house". Later it was discovered with a certain dismay that Sir John 
Reith came of Puritan stock. 

As time passed, Bobs were transformed into Shingles, and these, 
but less commonly, into Eton Crops. The Movies became Talkies, 
and those who had danced till three o'clock in the morning began to 
wonder where their sweethearts woe tonight. Outside the Labour 
Exchanges die shabby line of unemployed grew longer, shorter, 
then very long indeed But the memory of the General Strike kept 
strange beliefs alive in die minds of diose who, passing in their cars, 
looked the other way; they murmured instances of individual 
laziness, some believed the state paid as much as half the insurance 
contributions. 

1 How permanently reluctant England was to believe in Hitler's ambitions is 
suggest by a r&un* of thfc book *cat^ 

yearofwajttfont ofthefott-lmownbo^^ "Mr. Wyndham 

Lewis," It said, " comes forward as the exponent, not the critic or advocate, of 
the Natkwl SftdaSst Movement in Germany." 



THE OPENING SOUNDS 19 

High dividends went to those who had mastered die craft of 
distraction; to Edgar Wallace and Nod Coward as well as the 
manufacturers of portable gramophones, tobacco and artificial rabbits 
for greyhound tracks. But consciences needed to be soothed as well 
as distracted, and " this little autobiography of mine is in itself a 
tribute to the system tinder which we live ", wrote Edgar Wallace in 
. one of the books he published in 1932. " There cannot," he went 
on, " be much wrong with a society which made possible the rise 
either of J. H. Thomas or Edgar Wallace. . . ." He died that year, 
a few months before unemployment rose to 2,811,782, and Hitler 
conversed with the Danzig Gauleiter Forster on the veranda of 
Wachenfeld House, Obersalzberg. " I do not consider consequences ; 
I think only of one thing," he said, according to Rauschning. <c I do 
not play at war ... I shall shrink from nothing. . . . Without 
power over Europe we must perish. I give you my guarantee that 
there will be no more unemployment in Europe." 

It was still only in private that the voice of Hitler was to be heard 
like this. As to his intentions inside Germany, where his fingers 
were tightening on the controls, he was more frank. 

Since January 1933, w hen he became Chancellor, the German 
microphone had been at his disposal. In the Ministry of Propaganda 
a radio department had been formed with Horst Dressier- Andreas, 
former chief of the Party's own radio section, at its head. Respon- 
sible to him alone was the new director of the German radio system, 
Engen Hadamowsky, who carried out the dismissal of all employees 
known to be racially or politically impure. " I had incessantly and 
untiringly demanded that German broadcasting should be maclr 
the chief instrument of political propaganda/' he declared, and it was 
with enthusiasm that he set about die technical reorganization of 
transmitters to fulfil his aim. In time to come the " sharp and 
reliable weapon ", as he called it, might be turned outwards. For 
that purpose, high-powered stations were concentrated on the 
frontiers Koenigsberg for Poland; Hamburg and Bremen for 
England ; Stuttgart, Frankfurt and Saarbriicken for France* To 
secure victory in the Saar plebiscite the German Radio would be in 
a position to send out fifty national broadcasts and over a thousand 
local broadcasts. But immediately there was another task. " All 
that happens in and through radio today," Hadamowsky said, 
" happens in order to create so broad a basis for National Socialism 
among the people that one day the entire nation will be drenched 



20 VOICES IN THE DARNKESS 

through and through with our philosophy, that one day it will be a 
fhjrjg tflVcn for granted td an intimate need felt by every German 
to confess National Socialism/ 9 

A corporative Radio Chamber was established and membership 
became essential for all speakers and artists, the industry, wholesale 
and retail trades, the radio press and the organized listeners* Far- 
sighted instructions were given to the manufacturers to produce a 
" people's set ", whose two valves would be powerful enough to 
receive the German stations, but too weak to catch much of what 
was said abroad. The different things said by Hitler at different 
times could no longer be contradicted; they would be echoed; 
the German masses were about to receive the myth of National 
Socialism. By an audible stimulus the people were to be conditioned 
in the course of years as methodically as the dogs in the laboratories 
of Pavlov. 

The development of radio in England was more commonplace. 
News was first broadcast four years after the Armistice, This and 
other broadcasting activities were granted as a monopoly to a com- 
mercial company in 1922, which was soon reorganized as an indepen- 
dent organization holding a Charter from the Government and 
reflecting almost the whole range of views in the country. One bias 
it had with which it was not charged. The B.B.C. was plainly anxious 
that its audience should think for themselves. Instead of the edi- 
torial creed of a newspaper they heard many-sided debates. It 
popularized music not by the cinema's play of artificial rainbows on 
a self-elevating organ, but by analysis and exposition. And with 
this characteristically English policy, it evoked the anger of those 
with ready-made legends to sell. Among the critics were many who 
wanted technical and artistic progress ; but the uproar came from 
those whose motives were less disinterested. 

Legends are for the sick, and the critics who demanded that the 
B.B.C should deal in legends were not wholly mistaken in the 
estimate which they held of contemporary England. Unemploy- 
ment and the slums had not vanished, and if the loudspeaker would 
not deal in dreams and certainty, there were others who would. In 
a large northern industrial town surveyed by Mass Observation, it 
was found that every week a third of the population filled in Football 
Pool forms. " I try my luck while I am still employed, in the hope 
that it will remove the fear of unemployment," said one, and another 
asked, " Can we couponers imagine a winter evening minus our 



THE OPENING SOUNDS 21 

Littlewood's ? " In the newspapers astrology columns began to 
spread, assuring those who were born under Cancer and Gemini 
that for them at least mysterious certainties existed. Feelings of 
doubt and anxiety more obscure than the fear of unemployment 
began to attack the middle classes ; partly they were warded off by 
Insurance. The rapidly expanding lower middle class was reminded 
that " the possession of a life assurance policy has an invigorating 
effect upon men's work and women's outlook on life. It imbues 
them with a sense of security and a feeling of confidence in the 
unknown future, the like of which cannot be engendered by anything 
else in the world." l Brightness had yielded place to the more 
modest demand for security, and one could dream, if one was daring, 
of glamour. 

If England had possessed a Ministry of Propaganda, it is worth 
speculating what it could have said for the progress of English 
civilization as the 'thirties drew to a close. The account of indi- 
vidual rights would have been impressive; freedom of speech 
and freedom to learn had been retained; education had even 
widened them. But was it true that, beyond this, freedom meant 
the poor had equal rights with the millionaire to sleep under bridges, 
an equally free choice between paying a fine and going to gaol ? 
For a decade since the General Strike the real wages of the worker 
had gone up ; but one in a hundred of the adults who died still 
owned over half of the nation's wealth. If the ancestor, who 
visited our cities after the first World War, had revisited them on 
the eve of the second, he would have been struck, not perhaps by 
the beauty, but certainly by the number of the new houses. In the 
middle 'thirties more than a third of a million had been built each 
year. He would have discovered a much more positive attitude to 
the nation's health, with the state beginning to show as much interest 
in the food which created health as in the dispensation of mixtures 
to restore its loss. Those would have been the most promising 
themes with which our Propaganda Ministry would have had to 
atone for its silence on the slums, the permanently unemployed 
and the lack of a deep communal feeling. 

But Britain had no Ministry of Propaganda, and when die 
B.B.C. founded an embryonic service to Europe at the end of 
September 1938, what it broadcast was the text of Neville Chamber- 
lain's speech on the eve of Munich. " It was direct retaliation 
'"How Shall I Insure?" Pitman, 1934. 



22 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

against English broadcasts from German and other stations," said a 
press stirred at last to admiration. The broadcasts were in French, 
German and Italian, but the nature of their message showed plainly 
enough the mood in which Britain still lived. " How horrible, 
fantastic^ incredible it is ", said Chamberlain, " that we should be 
digging trendies and trying on gas-masks here because of a quarrel 
in a far-away country of whom we know nothing. . . . But ", he 
added, " if I were convinced that any nation had made up its mind 
to dominate the world by fear of its force, I should feel that it must 
be resisted/' 

His dilfrrn was the logical glima* of the evasions which 
British statesmen had been making palatable since Japan invaded 
Manchuria. Historians will probably see in those pronounce- 
ments which had begun with Sir John Simon and ended with 
this first broadcast to Europe, a paralysis which came from deep 
causes. 

For the lack of strength in our foreign policy was mirrored at 
home in our delay to apply for the benefit of our own people the 
potentialities of life which the new science had given us. What we 
did in common with France and America was to postpone the 
adjustment and ding to tic past from fear of the future Almost any 
myth about Soviet Russia was believed ; the blood shed during the 
Revolution was daubed over her economic achievements; the 
modernization of her Army was allowed to pale into insignificance 
beside the execution of untrustworthy generals. 

One of the more dishonourable features of politics is the habit 
of attacking statesmen as if they alone were responsible for the 
speeches they made. After the collapse of France, for instance, it 
was an ordinary experience to hear people arguing the advisability of 
impeaching the politicians who had been responsible for our foreign 
policy in the past ten years, as if they had been some arbitrary 
phenomenon at the head of a nation which would as readily have 
backed an opposite course. As a sort of reflex of exasperation, this 
attitude is of course understandable. We fed inclined to bite off our 
tongues when they betray us, but we restrain ourselves because 
we know well enough that the role of the tongue is technical j 
the erases of its indiscretion lie deeper. 

Let us realize here quite plainly that the voices of Sir John Simon 
and Neville Chamberlain were no more irrelevant to the 



of the 'thirties than were those of the Daily Afotf and Stanley Baldwin 



THE OPENING SOUNDS 23 

in the 'twenties. The sense of guilt and the complacency, the 
evasions, the postponements and the wishful thfofa'ifrg all had their 
roots in our thinking and behaviour at home. It was we ourselves 
who failed to produce the voice which might have denounced the 
Japanese invasion of China and the Axis occupation of Spain. The 
timorous tones in which we did speak were those a blackmailer 
hopes to hear, knowing once he has heard them, that he has 
struck gold. 

The Left realized much of this, and so did Winston Churchill. 
" The grave and perhaps irreparable injury to world security," he 
said nine months before the Munich agreement, " took place in the 
years 1932 to 1935 in the tenure of the Foreign Office by the present 
Chancellor of the Exchequer (Sir John Simon). In those days I 
ventured repeatedly to submit to the House die maxim that the 
grievance of the vanquished should be redressed before the disarma- 
ment of the victors was begun. But the reverse was done. Then 
was the time to make concessions to the German people and to the 
German rulers. Then was the time they would have had their 
real value. But no such attempt was made. All that was done 
was to neglect our defences. . . ." 

The twelve foodships that Churchill on Armistice Night had 
asked to be rushed to Hamburg had never left port, and now a 
hundred times that number would not have silenced the blackmailer's 
demands. 

" It would be as well if the gentry in Great Britain dropped 
certain attitudes of the Versailles epoch. We shall no longer tolerate 
the admonitions of a schoolmaster. We would advise all these gentry 
to look after their own problems." 

The German people had long since been brought to heel, and it 
was now the turn of the outside world. The arguments Hitler 
had directed against his father and Hindenburg, the rages, the morose 
sulks, were at last turned on Chamberlain. The voice transformed 
England's week-ends into successive crises of anxiety ; its frantic 
tones still, it seemed, half stifled by the gas-fumes of Flanders- 
dominated the ether and seemed to weave themselves into the texture 
of daily life. 

There were other voices in England, but they were blurred, and 
those that had conviction lacked unity. The new victor of Fleet Street 
was assuring its readers that there would be no war ; but since die 
arrival of broadcasting and sixpenny books, no newspaper could 



24 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

make itself heard as powerfully as the Daily Mail of the 'twenties. 
Skywriting had gone into decline after the attentions of a Special 
Committee, and the spectators soon to gaze in bewilderment at the 
frozen exhaust fumes of Messerschmitts, found they had forgotten 
what words they were expected to decipher. 



THE WAR IN GERMAN 

" My task mill be ended when I have raised up the German People." HTTLBR 
in 1924. * 

" The new times are bringing us wonderful things, including a new kind of laugh 
which produces happiness. Our dearly loved radio is transmitting It to us. Hearing 
all the comedians on the radio, one laughs quietly and hoards this laughter so that it 
surrounds life with a glow. For days one goes on quietly laughing. People go through 
life with a smile. There is good temper, gaiety and cheeriness."" Oldenburgischc 
Staatszeitung," December 6, 1941, after the failure of the first year's campaign 
in Russia. 

" It is not easy to cure folly at short notice." MENANDER. 
THE BATTLEFIELDS 



IN September 1939 the tuning-dial of a wireless set was a thing of 
great simplicity. On a softly lit background the station names were 
patterned in a circle or quadrangle or in orderly strips representing 
wave-bands. The anarchy which prevailed throughout the ether 
in reflection of the nationalism of the earth was not revealed by it ; 
only pressing a button marked Paris, one was likely to receive traces 
of Berlin and perhaps something from a higher wavelength as well. 
The lay-out of the tuning-dial was, one discovered, theoretical. 

In the war, that glowing panel became useless as a guide to the 
voices ready to shout their rival messages from behind it. A know- 
ledge of forty languages became insufficient without experience of 
the propaganda war, to unravel their intentions and origin. The soft 
voice is not necessarily a friend's. " You have only to turn to the 
Gospels/' said a kindly Englishman, " and on almost every page you 
will find condemnation of war and praise of peace. c No man can 
serve two masters/ said Jesus. In other words, we cannot reconcile 
war and Christianity. The sooner we realize this . . . " But although 
the station disclaimed allegiance to any earthly kingdom and dosed 
with a hymn instead of a call-sign, it was situated certainly enough in 
Germany. 1 Strength of reception gives no due to the distance of a 
1 Christian Peace Movement broadcasting from Germany on January II, 1942 



26 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

transmitter, for short waves make Japan more audible in London 
than English broadcasts to f say, China. Radio Paris pretends to be 
the French station it always was, but Radio Paris merit. Radio Pom 
e$t alkmandy and die Frenchmen who put that slogan on die air 
were not working from Unoccupied France but in a studio below the 
street level of London. A dialect may be coming from anywhere, 
even from its native .land. When the United States entered die war, 
the was speaking in twenty-one languages ; Moscow at that time 
spoke in twenty-two, Germany in thirty-six, and the B.B.C. in 
thirty-nine ; but these were only die most voluble in a radio war 
between twenty-seven nations. 

lake the structure of the universe, this confusion has its logic 
but is impossible to reduce to a single image. It is thanks only to 
die German passion for organizing their warfare that we can begin 
with an important simplification. 



II 

Imagine that a scientist, for reasons of personal mania, has three 
sets of microbes which he wishes to influence in three different ways. 
In die centre are some ninety million German microbes which he can 
keep in die centre. In a ring outside them are well over a hundred 
million European microbes which he is also able to keep in position. 
But outside these are a disorderly and many times bigger rabble 
straying about the laboratory as they like. His solution is to use three 
different gases. A bell-jar containing one of diem is put over the 
German microbes in the centre; a larger bell-jar containing a 
different gas, is put on top to enclose the European microbes ; and 
a third gas is released in the laboratory with the intention (which 
diffusion in so large a space made impossible to realize) of affecting 
the rest 

The scientist is anxious that no leakage should occur between the 
bell-jars, because he demands a different kind of behaviour from each 
of the three types of specimen. It would be dangerous if the German 
mixture penetrated extensively into the European bell-jar or vice- 
versa. But more threatening than this possibility is a group of rival 
scientists, who believe him to be mad, and are trying to inject 
currents of oxygen among each of the three sets of victims. Against 
these efforts hie is continually resorting to new devices, which involve 



THE WAR IN GERMAN 17 

the work of some thousands of assistants ; but their precautions are 
only in part successful. 

This, scarcely over-simplified, is a picture of Hitler's plan of 
action in the radio war. We are no t much concerned with the fortu- 
nate milUom running loose in the laboratory ; our business is with 
the Allied and particularly the British scientists, the type of oxygen 
they are trying to inject, and with the two central groups of microbes 
clamped miserably under bell-jars. Opinions differ about the quality 
of the oxygen in use, but the Allied scientists deserve only sympathy 
for their unfortunate physical position outside the laboratory. 
Their mad colleague has the advantage that he is in the middle. 

The ninety million victims in the central bell-jar are in fact 
dispersed over an area of half a million square miles in the centre 
of Europe where the ether is primarily controlled by the Reichsrund- 
funkgesellschaft. In some ways we shall find this area of the war less 
interesting than the outer, European sector where. we know more 
about the reactions of listeners ; but the outside scientists have 
spent more time in attempting to affect the members of the central 
block, and the madman in control has worked for a decade at their 
immunisation to all influences but his own. Until we understand 
something about thi^ influence, it is no use ^gfltrnntng efforts at 
counteraction. 



THE GERMAN MACHINE 

The Rachsrundfunkgesellschaft, or German Radio Company, 
had of course no independent existence of its own. Massive and 
extremely intricate controlling machinery saw to it that every tune, 
every word, and every tone in which the words were spoken should 
contribute to the impression of the world that the leaders found 
desirable. The State controlled it through a separate Radio Depart- 
ment of the Reich Ministry for Public ^ ?n ^g^ |tf>r ym | f > T > t and Propaganda, 
directing policy, programme planning atid business administration j 
and it was further controlled by the National Socialist Party, whose 
Radio Directorate was responsible for consistency of the programmes 
with Party ideals, listener research and the organization of communal 
listening. This Directorate also looked after the politics of the 
executives in the smallest local station. 



28 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

Hie conflict one would have expected to arise from overlapping 
was avdded by carefully interlocked functions. By statutory decree, 
{or instance, a single man had to be head of the State's Radio Depart- 
ment and the Party's Radio Directorate. Even a third control 
existed in the Radio Chamber mentioned in the introduction, but 
this lost power with the decay of corporative ideals which set in 
since the early 'thirties. The thoroughness of organization can be 
seen from the existence of a special wartime department inside the 
Radio Company with the function of ensuring against estrangement 
between civilians and the armed forces. 1 This body took its orders 
from the Propaganda Ministry's department Truppenbetreuung, 
headed by ReichsktUturwart Hinkd, a Chaplinesque member of the 
Nazi Old Guard 

One of the major effects produced on the listener by this machinery 
was not among those for which it was designed. There was an 
unfortunate impression of machinery. The German Radio came on 
the air at five in the morning, and an Englishman who suddenly 
transferred his allegiance to it would have been gratified at the 
end of each musical item to hear the exact time so that he could 
put his watch right for the day. But as the day wore on he would 
have realized that he had flattered himself in thinking he was 
considered an individual human being instead of a cog whose 
accuracy was desirable for the smooth working of the war machine. 
He would have remembered with a certain nostalgia the radio 
system in Which he could distinguish between announcers, for 
here personality was erased, and the most regular listener could 
not tell one announcer from another. 

If an item was meant to impress by its objectivity, they all read 
in the same objective tone ; if it was intended to evoke scorn, there 
was a standard form of derision. Even running commentaries had 
a uniform style. Since it was mainly grandiose occasions of state 
which were honoured by them, the announcer spoke always in the 
soft obliterated tones of hero-worship. By contrast to the voice of 
the leaders, he was an impressionable simpleton who identified 
himself with the supposed feelings of the listeners. 

Dr. Raskin, a director of the Zeesen short-wave station, saw the 
risk this treatment ran of boring the audience into indifference, and 

1 Kamtradschafttdxnst. " It it certain," said Dr. Gerhard Eckert in his book 
Dtr Rwidfimk ah FQhntngtmitttl, published in 1941, " that these broadcasts are 
essential for maintaining the loyalty of the troops and therefore to leadership." 



THE WAR IN GERMAN 29 

laid down die maxim, "No propaganda without its Dratnaturgie ". * 
But it was an ideal which could not flourish among producers and 
writers whose every inflection was controlled by directive. Attempts 
were constantly made. A news item, for instance, would run : 

Against the failure to build air-raid shelters for women and children 
in England, protests were made, according to the Daily Herald, by 
delegates of the South Wales Miners' Union at a conference in 
Cardiff. 

where the normal construction would have been : 

According to the English newspaper, Daily Herald, delegates of 
the South Wales Miners 9 Union have protested at a conference in 
Cardiff against the failure to build air-raid shelters for w6men and 
children. 

Sometimes there was melodramatic anger : 

The war criminal Churchill announced yesterday the systematic 
bombardment of the Italian capital. In the announcement the brazen 
lie was presented to the world. . . . This is the kind of shameless 
duplicity with which Churchill prepares yet another devilish plan 
for his air force. . . . The war criminal No. I attempts to shift the 
blame for this approaching crime by his shameless lying. 

Tricks of style and presentation were used above all to heighten the 
drama of the front. Soldiers, even in news bulletins, did not die, 
but invariably " met a hero's end " (den Heldentod starV). After a 
victory a general hook-up of national, regional and load stations 
was made for an astonishing fantasy of propagandists known as a 
Sondermeldung. The announcer would pretend that all the news 
had been read, but would add in tones charged with suppressed 
excitement, " We are expecting any minute now an 



from the Leader's Headquarters." March music would begin, with 

1 Dr. Raskin was killed in an air accident early in the war, and according to the 
American radio correspondent, H. W. Flannery, who attended his funeral, his 
principles of Dratnaturgie were applied to the ceremony held in the main auditorium 
of the German Radio. " The radio symphony orchestra of 150 pieces was on the 
stage, with evergreens and ferns on both sides and to the rear. Dr. Raskin's casket 
was centred in front of the stage, with banks of flowers, topped with red rotes, on 
each side. Two of Hitler's tall, blond 61ite troopers stood at attention on each 
side of the casket, with numerous wreaths from Hitler and other Nazi leaders 
along the full front of the stage. ... At the rear of the hall a blade-robed choir 
sang special Nazi numbers arranged so that they sounded like Gregorian chants." 
Assignment tojBerKn* 



30 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

perhaps & T"*te chorus, until the announcer intervened with another 
warning* A new military march) ponderous* fortissimo^ came on 
while the listener was expected to imagine esciirrying of messengers 
across the Wilhelmstrasse. Into the silence that followed dmmrolls 
would suddenly break, and three times brass fanfares were unfurled. 
Then the announcer would read out in dead, unemphatic tones 
perhaps no more than a couple of sentences. " From the Leader's 
Headquarters* The High Command announces that U-boats have 
sunk seventeen further ships off the Atlantic coast of America. 
This brings the total of ships sunk in tfria area since the declaration 
of war mi America to eighty." The military band would then play 
the appropriate war-song 1 in this case " Our Goal is England " 
which would be taken up by the male chorus. The text of the 
announcement would then be repeated and followed by further march 
tunes, die whole performance surrounding the one minute news 
item occupying about half an hour. But if the victory was considered 
important enough, its announcement would be preceded first by the 
national Anthem, then by the Horst Wesscl song, and followed by 
a warning in religious tones, " a radio silence now follows ". 

That ritual should be crystallized so richly around these 
announcements was of course a matter of careful cdculation. Force 
was the core and essence of National Socialism ; armed victory 
was its justification. The Sondermeldung was designed to con- 
vert these things into their full spiritual and emotional consequences, 
allowing no waste to occur. That was their first, aggressive 
purpose. But in three years the use to which they were put was 
revolutionized In the Russian campaign, they became substitutes 
for victory, and by the time Britain and America took the initiative 
they had become diversions from defeat* In the weeks sur- 
rounding the Allied assault on North Africa they were broadcast 
at a rate higher on the average than one every other day. All 
were concerned with' U-boat sinkings and the facts on which 
they were based were not of major significance, but the German 
listener was told to look away from Africa because victories were 
being won for him elsewhere more rapidly than during the invasion 
of Holland, Belgium and France. 

1 Each military campaign had its own signature-tune: DitWachtamKhdnfac 

the Battle Of Fiance; JFtr/aAf*fjy* 



P*w#t^^ for the Balkans; and a combination 
of Ltoft symphonic poem Ln PrthuU*, with put of the Horn Vessel chorus 
Kamsradm, <* Rotfront tmd Rtaktion m choutn , for the invasion of the U.S.S.R. 



THE WAR IN GERMAN 31 

Front reports, broadcast between one and three times a day, 
were produced by Propaganda Companies of regimented war 
correspondents, of whom more than 200 were killed in action in the 
first three years. 1 They had facilities new to the history of war. 
When German troops entered Bulgaria, the commentator described 
how the records were brought to Vienna by a relay system of runners, 
motor-cyclists and two aeroplanes. The recording was made by a 
portable outfit known as the Magnetophone which had the peculiar 
advantage, according to the German Radio Handbook of 1939-40, 
that the sections of records could be cut and sub-edited like a film. 
The technique of sub-editing had in fact such importance that apart 
from convenient accidents like the arrival of Gdring within the view 
of the commentator, it must have taken a credulous listener to believe 
that reality was so neatly enforced by sound-effects. 

Well before the German armies met their first defeat, a surprising 
change appeared in these reports of their deeds ; original stories 
told by soldiers gave way more and more to the glib patter of the 
propagandists, they became comments instead of reports, and their 
purpose to distort and colour the listener's idea of war was 
quite clearly revealed Horror was not excluded. Listening to the 
daily commentary on the advance into the Soviet Union, one some- 
times wondered whether it was not damaging propaganda from 
Moscow ; but the horror was always grandiose, never merely sordid. 
At first the National Socialist armies were a welded and impenetrable 
suit of armour ; they were unflawed by the social importance which 
other countries attached to rank j death visited them less often thin 
it did civilians in peacetime and if, even in this evaporated form, 
it still hung inescapably in the atmosphere, the victim was as much 
to be envied as a lover. " Deceptions which longer life brings so 
thickly are spared him. Illness and old age can no longer drain his 
strength. He falls free of all care, with the smoke of battle swirling 
around him, destroyed in the innermost explosion of the conflict," * 
On the day he captured Tobruk, Rommel himself expounded the 
more sober attitude on this subject. "Though the individual 
loses his life/ 9 he said, " the victory of the nation is certain. In th 
moment of die storming of Tobruk, the Panzer Army greets its 
Germany." 8 

1 According to the Berlin correspondent of the Swedish paper Svensk* 
Da&adet, July 25, 1942. 

* Gcncaa Ridic, March 15, 1942. * Gwman Radio, June a*, 



32 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

The romantic attitude, flavoured with Wagnerian opera and 
worship of science, was applied to retreats. " Here speaks the Voice 
of the Front ! "but a front retiring at last from Moscow. " What- 
ever the demand of the day, of the hour, we are ready, armed not 
only with our weapons, but also in our souls. Be the day good or 
bad, we shall master its claims. The choice of the day is not ours, 
but ours shall be the strength and courage to conquer. This we all 
know, at the Front and at Home, and therefore we stand erect as 
ever." As glamorous in its inverted way as advance, retreat was a 
device calling for qualities of tenacity and endurance which the 
German race possessed more than any other. 

War, and level with war, the Leader ; these were the two subject! 
to which the German Radio applied Dr. Raskin's Dramaturgie witl 
high efficiency. A special decree forbade a hook-up of all station! 
under German control for any occasion but a speech by Hitler 
then, all over Europe came the well-known ritual. Both drama; 
made the same assumption about the listener ; he was not an adul 
like die English or American listener chatting on equal terms witl 
Roosevelt at his fireside, or hearing Churchill begin punctually 
after a preliminary snuffle, at nine o'clock. He was not fit, and i 
might have been dangerous, to let hi hear the experiences of pilot 
and sailors who had not studied the directives of Reichskulturwar 
Hinkel of Truppenbetreuung. He was a German who must be taugh 
by everything he heard that the State had a right to his complete 
subservience. This did not mean that the relationship between bin 
and the Leader was a static one. Although Hitler never honourei 
him after October 1933 with a personal talk from the studio, he di< 
not just issue pronouncements in vacua ; every broadcast speech i 
those ten years was made to a sample demonstration or meeting 
whose reactions he followed more carefully than was apparent 
Indeed much of the peculiarity of the later Hitler speeches was jus 
this interaction of speaker and audience ; it became so much thei 
distinguishing feature that the early speeches one or two of whic 
still exist on records are not recognizably spoken by the sam 
person* 

Mass reactions, which are notoriously more primitive than th 
individual's, were the target Hitler aimed at, and by forming h 
immediate audience into a crowd and organizing farther crowd 
throughout the country, he ensured himself of access to the lea; 
civiHzed layers of their minds. One must add that the sounds the 



THE WAR IN GERMAN 33 

gave vent to were more bestial than human. And having selected 
this area as his field of activity, he proceeded to treat the Germans as 
if they were in fact and in all circumstances subhuman, the mere 
subjects of an experiment. When place-names carried with them 
the significance of conquest they were injected in repeated doses 
like a drug. I have heard Vipuri repeated in this way as many as 
five times in a sentence, but when they became the scene of a retreat, 
their identity dispersed. Almost any lie was in order if it served the 
need of the moment. " Tobacco is particularly dangerous for ex- 
pectant mothers/' declared Leipzig on January 22, 1941 . " Tobacco 
may cause sterility." 

On less practised tongues than those of Hitler and the Propaganda 
Companies, the existence of a prearranged scheme to affect the 
listener's mind was not so well hidden. Zeitgeschehen, or Topical 
News Reels, were supposed to clothe the directives with flesh and 
blood by interviewing people of distinction and alleged independence 
or by touring places of topical interest ; but the energies of the 
department sagged; the interviews, the tours, became dry and 
boring, and in case their propaganda point might escape, they began 
with a few general sentences lifted almost straight from the directive 
as it arrived in the Rundfunkhaus. 

Talks, apart from the brilliant juggling performance of counter- 
propagandist Fritzsche, succumbed to the same discipline. If 
one had a special personality, it was better concealed, because 
human characteristics, though good radio, had a way of fail- 
ing to comply with directives. Fritzsche's personal and rather 
highbrow jeux de mots may have been a psychological possibility 
because of the power he enjoyed. By the beginning of the fourth 
year of war he had become Political Controller of the German 
Radio. 

Music was the most likely candidate for political immunity. 
It had most of the transmission hours, and a few original works 
appeared even in wartime. But the well-played classics were more 
than outweighed by four times the amount of Light Music, and the 
standard of this was officially lowered by Goebbels in the middle of 
1941 when the " final victory " of that year became obviously un- 
attainable. 1 Though dance records looted from Radio Luxembourg 

1 The text of this promise, which we .shall meet again, was published in Hitter's 
Order of the Day at the end of 1940. " The year 1941," it ran, " will bring the 
completion of the greatest victory of our history/* 

3 



34 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

made their appearance increasingly in foreign programmes, jazz was 
banned at home as a non-Aryan degeneracy, and the substitute one 
heard announced as melodies und schwungvoll proved only drab and 
unbearably monotonous. Here, too, the listener was not suspected 
of having critical faculties. Tides were often omitted and the pre- 
tence that everything came from an orchestra in the studio was kept 
up in defiance of the suspicions aroused by hearing the same 
rhythmic scratches on the record and the same flaws of execution 
in repeated performances. Artists of the standing of Egon Petri 
and Joseph Szigeti, although known to be outside Germany, were 
claimed as if they, too, were in the studio. The announcer 
did not flinch. " You will now hear/' he would declare, 
"Liszt's Concerto for piano and orchestra. The soloist is 
Egon Petri." 

Letters of protest from bored listeners flowed in steadily. 
Violent and anonymous, mild and properly signed, they mounted 
till Goebbels was forced in 1942 to offer, " for an urgent topical 
reason ", alternative programmes. " The solution of this com- 
plicated problem/' he declared, " would be much easier if we had 
at our disposal twelve or fourteen transmitters as in peacetime. 
Today it is very difficult to keep even one transmitter fully going." 1 
He did not mention that he had over a hundred, but that they 
were fully employed with foreign propaganda and jamming. Nor 
did his division of programmes improve them ; henceforward the 
German listener had the advantage of choice between the dull and 
the tawdry. 

Much could have been forgiven the German Radio if its faults 
had been attributable to the operation of warding off of defeat. It 
was, after all, regarded as a military instrument. " The radio will 
act as a teacher, giving enlightenment on the great problems of our 
time," said Goebbels. " When the hour has come it will raise the 
hearts and rouse the consciences. It will attack the enemy wherever 
he shows up. It; will defend the interests of the Fatherland." 1 
Once it had been used for expansion, and to further that it projected 
a world of invincible German armies confronting degenerate foreign 
villains. This was the offensive phase ; and in the defensive period 
which followed" it will raise the hearts and rouse the consciences " 
the same voice extolled the qualities of endurance that had sus- 
tained the nation through the Thirty Years War ; it boasted less, 

1 Broadcast article by Gocbbels, February 28, 1942. 



THE WAR IN GERMAN 35 

and threatened and exhorted more. Often it tried to ingratiate 
itself. 

But between these two periods, let us remember there had been 
an interval. The German armies had been opposed only by the sea, 
and the one enemy that remained seemed unlikely to survive invasion. 
Then was the time when the German Radio could have been some* 
thing other than a purely military instrument, ^hen the promise 
that it would act as a " teacher " could have had some meaning 
apart from the hypocrisy of a Hitlerian phrase. We shall see later 
what it had to say to Europe as a whole. To Germany the only 
change was a kind of crude and intoxicated exaltation. Describing 
itself as a " bearer of Culture ", it commented on art exhibitions and 
festivals ; it listed the number of poets and symphony orchestras 
under its control ; but one never, except in concerts, felt the vivid 
excitement that art produces, and the lists of poets and orchestras 
sounded like booty detailed in a communique. 1 Instead of religious 
services, it broadcast occasional pious features. Transmissions to 
schools were stopped, and the programmes for children were confined 
to singing, physical training and handicrafts. Group listening by 
children was still valued, but only for its ability to enforce in 
childhood the properly subservient attitude to the voice of the 
state. In a book on the aims of the German Radio, which was 
published with official blessing in 1941, the sometime Front 
Reporter Dr. Gerhard Eckert sketched the desirable effect made 
on a child by enforced listening. "He cannot simply go out 
of the room, or turn the wireless on or off when he wants to, but 
he has to listen to the broadcast with others. . . . We thus teach 
the growing children to use the wireless set properly." * And 
in case anyone should think he was merely advocating exercise 

1 Perhaps the most remarkable of these communique's was a sentence spoken 
by Gauleiter Sauckel : " Nobody whose spirit and heart are educated/' he said, 
" can have any doubts, that the immortal heroes of Ancient Greece, the characters 
of those Greek tragedies and dramas, the great Roman builders of states and men, 
the leaders of the Roman legions, and also the powerful heroes of German and 
Teutonic ancient history, would, from Olympus to Valhalla, bless the great 
struggle and tremendous achievements of Adolf Hitler and Mussolini just exactly 
as would Goethe and Schiller, Dante, Albrecht Durer, Michelangelo, Leonardo 
da Vinci, Rubens, Rembrandt, Beethoven, Richard Wagner, Verdi, Brahms 
or Grieg." 

Sauckel said this in a speech broadcast from Weimar on October 26, 1941. 
Subsequently he was appointed Labour Dictator. 

* Dtr Rwidfitnk alt FHhrunfnmtttL 



36 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

in withstanding boredom, Dr. Eckert pointed out that it was the 
broadcaster's job to see that the " opportunities " thus presented 
were " properly recognized ". 

The effect of inhumanity was heightened by the lack of ideas* 
No listener needed to consult the newspaper or radio journal to dis- 
cover what he would hear. He knew already. Unchallenged and 
mechanical, the loudspeaker spoke the lines which had been calculated 
for a given effect. If the voice of the soldier at the front needed 
sterilization by the Propaganda Companies before it was passed on, 
how much more undesirable were the spontaneous impressions of 
die inhabitants of Cologne or Rostock under the air-raids. To 
share feelings, to describe them, was to defy the hypothesis of 
microbe-life on which National Socialism was based. Listeners 
could consult the omniscient voice of the radio, but only in properly 
suppliant tones. 

" From the wealth of letters we have received, we select one 
which is unusually charming," said the Reichsprogramm as the 
German armies began to withdraw from Moscow. " A former coach- 
man writes : 

DEAR RADIO, I have two wonderful wobl rugs which don't 
look exactly fashionable, but are in excellent condition and have 
no holes, I have one wool rug which unfortunately the moths 
have got into, but it's still too good to be thrown away. I 
would very much like to know whether I might offer such things 
to our soldiers. My wife says it is impossible. What should 
I do? 

RADIO'S ANSWER : Kindly hand in the two good woollen rugs 
exactly as they are. From the damaged one your wife can easily make 
a hood which can be worn over a steel helmet . . . 

We would inform those young women 1 who wish to know 
whether they may surrender such articles of clothing as training 
costumes : yes, dear girls, naturally you can surrender your training 
costumes. 

The German Radio had had its chance to give a message to its 
people, but all it deigned to tell them was how to win victories 
and how to postpone defeat. Hitler's task was finished when he had 
"raised up the German people " because he did not know what to 
do with people who had been raised up. 

1 Members of the Bund Deutscher M&dd> women's section of the Hitler Youth 
Moveflient. 



THE WAR IN GERMAN 37 



STUDIO 5 

Let me take you, the most distinguished of my readers, down 
to the studio for your first, and I am afraid your last, broadcast to 
Germany. Your services were surprisingly difficult to procure ; to 
be quite frank, you saw small gain to anyone from a talk for which 
your fee would be trivial and your audience vague in every detail 
but their inability to buy your books. You were hurt more than you 
would admit by my insistence djat your script should be shortened 
by half; you doubted my excuse about the importance of the news, 
and in this you were partly right, because I would have insisted on 
some such reduction on any day of the year. For my part I am 
pre-occupied by a German headline lying on my desk which reads 
" Rundfunkverbrecher zum Tode verurteilt" and informs me that 
Johann Wild, one of our most regular listeners, is about to 
be executed. I will not try to interest you in Wild, because 
you have already rejected my invitation to come down early to 
the studio to absorb its atmosphere. If polite relations still 
exist between us, it is, on my side, because of a realization 
that few living Englishmen have your sane and lucid views about 
the future. 

It will take us four minutes to reach the studio from the editorial 
office. The compact luxury of Station Delta only housed the 
European Service for the first year of the war. In one night of bombs 
the staff was transferred to Station Gamma, which had disadvantages 
of its own, and became a stand-by station after a few months in 
which Station Beta was got ready. Here, in the year 1941, you 
notice, there is room enough for expansion, but the distances are 
big and the lift organization imperfect. You must excuse the 
hurrying figures in shirt-sleeves who shout and wave papers at 
secretaries receding in the distance. The atmosphere can't help 
being like a newspaper which is for ever going to press. Certainly 
those Polish officers had no business to kick your heel and crush 
you against the senior Greek announcer as they got into the lift, 
but probably they are late for rehearsal. Sometimes it is like an 
international barracks here, but in the narrow underground corridors 
things inevitably look like a civil war on a cosmopolitan scale. Your 



j8 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

pass again ? It is a nuisance, but one must remember this is a 
national institution, and the precautions taken by every Ministry in 
London have to be observed. 

That red light which now stains our faces from above the words 
STUDIO No. 5 means that the programme is on. Would you 
mind putting your cigarette out when we are through the first door ? 
Hie abrupt twist you give it is suggestive, and I do at last feel a little 
officious as I take your arm and prevent you from going through the 
second door. You see the outside one has not yet closed, and 
we can hear the French Editor in embittered argument with 
M. Duchesne in the passage. If you open the second door at this 
moment, the Gestapo may hear as well, and that would not do. 
This cubicle in which we are slowly being enclosed is like the 
chamber of a submarine where the pressure & being adjusted before 
you exchange one atmosphere for another. Now you push your 
way in, hesitate, and look blank. A tiny room, only a few yards 
square, is in front of you. There are half a dozen people sitting 
around a table where two microphones are suspended. Faces look 
up without interest, and look away. The figures do not move. 
A voice comes steadily from one of them. You feel rebuffed as 
though the smile you expected had been replaced by the cold 
stare of enemies. Automatically you sit down where you are 
shown, opposite the man who is speaking. The microphone is 
between you. Now a second announcer leans forward, and tells 
it there is no more news until the summary at the end of the 
programme. But don't switch off, he says, in a moment you will 
hear the voice of H. G. Priestley, and if jamming is particularly 
bad on 1500 metres, there are six other wavelengths carrying 
the programme : 373.1 metres, 285 and 261 in the medium- wave 
band, as well as 49.59, 41.96 and 41.49 on short waves. Here is 
one of the most famous writers in the world, fasten to ... and 
your name is repeated. 

The bronze grill of the microphone now takes on strange qualities 
as repellent as your first sight of the studio. It seems to grow and 
harden against its background of green baize. Your first words arc 
rejected one by one, and then whole sentences meet the same 
hostility and expire on the studio padding without an echo. At the 
end, your sense of failure is confirmed by the announcer opposite, 
who instead of rising to offer his congratulations, leans forward 
and says with an intensity which slightly flushes the sabre 



THE WAR IN GERMAN 39 

scar on his cheek: "We interrupt our programme with an 
important piece of news." A U-boat has just been brought 
into a western port. The entire crew is aboard. Names to be 
announced later. 

But what is the good ? you are wondering, ^hat about janHming ? 
What about the penalties for listening ? You lean back and try to 
relax, but it is very stuffy and there are too many people in the room. 
You have been used to studios with modernist glamour where the 
difficulties of combining subterranean ventilation with sound-proof 
walls had not occurred to you. Luxuries may make their appear- 
ance by 1942, but at the moment half a dozen canvas-covered 
screens, an obvious improvisation to improve the acoustics, hang 
from the ceiling. By the door stands an oil-lamp, ready, in case a 
bomb puts the lights out. 

The sharp face and tangled lines on the forehead of the man on 
your right suggest that he was a don ; but what is a don doing here, 
sitting in shirt-sleeves and following word for word the script which 
is being spoken ? He really does follow, you notice, and the hand 
outstretched by the switch is that, surely not, to cut off the service 
if something sinister happens ? You still feel obscurely irritated by 
the absorption of everyone around you ; it is as if they shared a 
secret into which you were not admitted. But you half suspect a 
dishonest secret, perhaps a private conviction that jamming is all 
too effective. 

Now the announcer opposite has finished giving his urgent 
information about U-boats. He leans back with a faint but in- 
explicable smile. The scar on his cheek seems to fade ; he looks 
satisfied, as if good memories wanned him. Already, nearly without 
pause, another German at the second microphone has started 
sending out personal messages. " Frau Kristina Wagner, of 56 
von Spaar Strasse, Cologne-Muhlheim, here is a piece of good news 
for you. Your son, Ordinary Seaman Wilhelm Wagner is a prisoner 
of war in England . . . Frau Marie Schmidt, of 7 Christianstrasse, 
your son . . ." But his hands, holding the sheet of paper, are 
trembling slightly, and on his wide, slightly flushed forehead the 
electric light catches perspiration. The words come slow and dear, 
but his voice seems shaped in the recesses of his own personality 
instead of an anonymous and objective B.B.C. Is the accent 
Bavarian, you wonder ? But the donlike person on your right has 
stood up, apparently in anxiety at the second by second convulsions 



40 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

of the clock-hand, which have failed to distract the announcer. 
Fading a movement in the room, he does reluctantly look up; 
and then finishes his sentence in a different tone of voice, as 
if some relationship had been broken between himself and the 
person 'to whom he was speaking. The first announcer, after 
calculating that eleven seconds remain for the dosing announce- 
ment, adds, " And that is the end of our programme on the two 
hundred and eighty-ninth day of the year for which Hitler has 
promised you final victory. He has now seventy-nine days left." 
A good-looking girl, who had struck you as a discordant note, 
gets up from her study of the strip cartoons in the Daily Mirror 
and turns a knob on the control desk over to the left. In a moment 
a red light on the wall goes out. 

You are a little bewildered as you leave the studio by a rush of 
Italians who have twenty seconds in which to make themselves 
comfortable inside. " Parla Londra" you hear. " Ecco il nostro 
quarto notiziario. . . ." But the words with their suggestion of 
Mediterranean gold and blue are faded out by the closing of the 
second door. Unfortunately the speediest programme engineer 
of the French section chooses this moment to collide with an 
Italian sub-editor running to the studio with the news of a 
disaster in the Ionian Sea. He throws the preoccupied Day 
Editor of the central news desk against a Home Guard, and 
the handle of the new incendiary shovel which he was putting 
in the corner by the sand -buckets is suddenly thrust between 
your legs. 

On the whole it seems fruitless to apologize, because other 
accidents are certainly materializing for us in the passage and lifts. 
[ prefer the convention that all this is in some sense non-existent, 
chat it can be obliterated and your distinction restored by a continuous 
flow of information about the studio. 

Were you not impressed by the sign-off, the line about the two 
hundred and eighty-ninth day of the year for which Hitler had 
promised final victory? Not particularly? But how remarkable 
that seems to me, who first heard it in January, when invasion 
seemed certain and Aradt used to say, ". . . on the third day of 
the year ... the fourth day ... the fifth day ..." in strained, 
gladiatorial tones appropriate to Ave, Imperator, morituri te salutant. 
It seemed daring enough to me, but for him the arrival of the Gestapo 
would have been decisive. His reward, of course, will come on 



THE WAR IN GERMAN 41 

December 31, when he will count off the hours left to Hitler one 
by one. 

The man by the switch ? Yes, an Oxford don who specialized 
jn Middle High German and now scrutinizes the texts of every 
German programme that goes out. It is a Foreign Office instruction 
designed to prevent the gift of information to the enemy, whether 
in code or dear. There have to be half a dozen Switch Censors 
for German alone, there are thirty or forty others. No, there 
have .never been major incidents; the switch is used mostly 
* in spring and winter to enable everyone in the studio to cough. 
Certainly there is something inquisitorial about it, and you 
would not expect the announcers who were fighting for us before 
we were, to fed no trace of offence. But Switch Censors do 
other important jobs such as supervising the quality of transla- 
tion, checking accuracy, sustaining enrigrd morale and watching 
the dock. 

The fine features of the girl by the control-desk seemed familiar 
because you have seen them in photographs outside musical comedy 
theatres in Shaftesbury Avenue. She is now dignified by the title 
of Studio Manager and carries the minor but nerve-racking responsi- 
bilities of turning the programme on for transmission at the right 
second, and supervising, as far as that is possible, the events in the 
studio. Next year she may become grander still and be called 
a Programme Engineer. She must avoid, as far as she can, playing 
the second half of a recorded talk before the first half of another. 
Ideally, she should see that announcers and records come in on their 
cues as slickly as a Hollywood film. She should combine the vices 
of a Sergeant Major, the producer Jacques Duchesne and a universal 
mother. She can knit more silently than the tick of the studio 
dock. 

But perhaps it is the announcers who interest you most ? I wish 
I could tell you exactly why Scherer, with the sabre scar, speaks with 
such intense deliberation only to relax into a glory of smiling bene- 
ficence j I feel I know why, but only in vague terms. You notice 
that he is well into his sixties, that the bright eyes below the high 
slope of his forehead and the white hair gain your respect. If the 
young announcers smile at the trace of delay in his management of 
a studio crisis, it is like a dass of schoolboys who have caught the 
maths master in a slip. They are delighted ; but as for Scherer, 
he doesn't see. Ich bin ans ubersehen gmdknt" he says, " I've got 



42 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

used to not noticing things." For him the past has reality : his 
marriage at twenty-three, joining up on the first day of the World 
War, the sudden pain in his knee as he led his company into action 
in the Carpathians, his appointment as Judge Advocate on the 
Eastern Front Thousands of soldiers pleaded in front of him and 
hundreds of civilian Russians. He was lenient, extricating them from 
the death sentence, which he never pronounced ; today he can see 
a small town near Brest Litovsk rather like a Tsarist postcard with 
the inhabitants coming out to welcome him as their well-remembered 
protector. 

There had been plenty in that campaign to keep him sweet, 
the shooting expeditions on horseback over the shallow snow, 
the dinners in the palace of Nicholas's mistress. And afterwards 
Berlin had not just swallowed him ; he was too able, too serene. 
His legal practice flourished, the disputes of big business and the 
second biggest film contracts in the country passed across his desk. 
When he went into the courts a clerk in the comer of Amtsgericht 
Berlin Mitte used to jump stiffly to attention. He did that to all 
ex-army officers, Scherer realized, his name was what ? Kerrl ? A 
fanatic, Prussian perhaps and Nazi, but gratifying. Then in March 
1933 he had a letter- from Kerrl, who had been appointed Minister 
of Justice. Jews were to be eliminated from the bar. But this could 
not apply to him ? Somewhere, generations back Jewish religion had 
been imported into the family from the Russian hussars. A few 
months later he found himself in Switzerland with 20 per cent, missing 
from his capital ; a few months later he was in Kensington. He put 
most of the remaining money in industrials and lost. He had his 
wife with him, his father and two boys. The boys had gone to 
public schools, but after Dunkirk they were deported to Canada. 
His father was killed by a bomb ; suddenly his wife became a 
permanent invalid. 

Soon after Scherer began to announce he heard from Switzerland 
that he had been deprived of German nationality for propaganda 
against the Leader. Who had recognized his voice, he wondered. 
A private in the Eastern campaign ? One of the big industry clients ? 
Kerrl? Not that the news worried him much. Ich bin ans ubersehen 
gewoknt--auch ans iiberhoren. " There are things I don't hear either." 
His smile is sincere ; he likes to talk. 

You noticed, perhaps, that Arndt who was giving out the prisoner 
messages at the far microphone seemed more vividly concerned ? 



THE WAR IN GERMAN 43 

He was talking to his mother in Prague who listens to him every day 
as she lies in bed. She is careless about the Gestapo nowadays, 
because her illness may prove fatal, and all she wants is to talk to 
Jindrich. Should she have the operation ? she wonders. It is not 
anxiety about her fate which prevents her from deciding ; but this 
daily routine of listening to him. Since he was fifteen or sixteen, she 
consulted him on every big decision she made, and he returned the 
compliment except once. That was when he decided to flee when 
the Germans entered Prague in 1939. If he had stayed, of course, 
the articles he had written since Munich would alone have been 
enough to cause his death in a concentration camp ; but the frontiers 
were already dosed, and the risk of leaving was about equal. What 
he relied on was his Christian name, because years earlier, when 
appeasement was in its infancy, he had had the foresight to have his 
passport made out with his German name Franz, and the Gestapo, 
like his mother, knew him as Jindrich. At the frontier he watched 
the S.S. man's pencil move down the list of those they needed with 
the name of Arndt There were not many. He saw Jindrich Arndt 
among them, but not Franz. He could go. At the first stop in 
Hungary, he wired his mother, and they got letters through to each 
other directly, but after he came to England and the war broke out, 
they could only hear of each other underground via America. Just 
now all he knows is that she is listening and cannot make up her 
mind about the operation. He wishes he could depart from the 
script now and then. 

But if you are interested in the announcers, come into their 
room, now we are safely back in the German section, and see them 
for yourself. Scherer and Arndt are not particularly representative 
because they are both over forty ; the majority are younger, but 
apart from that they have little in common except intelligence 
and an artistic tendency. Six were actors, others were barristers, 
journalists and architects. One was an archaelogist and another 
an advertisement designer. They sit at typewriters or dictating 
to German secretaries ; they labour with a rather solemn stooping 
concentration which is more impressive than the Englishman 
at work. 

Some still wear the Ersatz woollen clothing they had on when 
they left ; they are so obviously German that the group playing 
chess in the corner look like a scene in a poorly furnished 
Weinttube. A few have Jewish features; several had married 



44 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

Jewesses, and radier than divorce than, came into exile. Schnitzler, 
the best actor and die owner of the finest voice, married his 
fiancee a few days after Hitler seized power. " It was the only 
obvious gesture we could make," he says with a shrug. The 
pigment of his hair and the blood in his veins are as purely Aryan 
as Siegfried's, but two of his brothers disgraced their descent by 
becoming Nazis. 

Let me introduce you to Karl Hoffinann, who has probably the 
best German library in England. To him we owe the most valuable 
minute of propaganda in the war. He had read a few sentences of 
the evening news one night in October 1940 when the first bomb to 
hit Station Delta exploded. We had no " lip-microphones " of the 
kind that kept out the sound of British bombs from the German 
Radio. It seemed as if the walls were coming down and the building 
was on fire. A blast of dust and fine debris poured through the 
ventilators, making it difficult to speak. Outside voices were shouting 
and colleagues were dying. But Hoffmann plodded on, as if that 
explosion which had been broadcast to Europe was the regrettable 
fell of a chair, " What I remember," he tells you, " is the extra- 
ordinary optimism of the Switch Censor who tried to stop the 
air which kept streaming in through the ventilator. He tried 
with one sheet of the news, and looked so puzzled when he 
failed. I never had to struggle so hard not to laugh/* Hoffinann 
became a local celebrity after this, and when he was shown off 
to the Duke of Kent three months later, it upset him that he 
was more or less unable to speak. The Duke suspected that 
he had been struck dumb either by royalty or blast, but in fact 
he had a sore throat. 

You wonder if these people are contented ? But with what 
with their work or with Hitler ? Most of them left Germany in the 
hope of forgetting, and a few with the determination to fight back. 
Those who wanted to forget found it impossible and joined the others 
who wanted to fight. At the microphone it is never necessary to 
criticize them for indifference, but sometimes a kind of personal 
indignation breaks through, and then it is worth praising the virtues of 
objectivity and reminding them of the charges brought by Goebbels 
about refugee stations. For it is their personal tragedy that they can 
find no direct expression for their anger at what has been done to 
them ; the B.B.C. is a national broadcasting system ; the facts it 
gives are merely facts, and the views mostly English. If the voice 



THE WAR IN GERMAN 45 

which speaks them would like to say more, it must temporarily 
forget* 

The services of refugees were once declined by Britain in a gust 
of insular panic ; the outlets to their loyalty, the canalization of their 
deepest feelings where they served a purpose, were denied them. At 
that time two German announcers were interned, 1 and on their way 
to the studio from their flats and boarding houses in the bombed 
London suburbs, the rest could have been forgiven a sense of 
persecution. Holier, one of the most civilized and charming men I 
have met, was killed on stand-by duty at Station Gamma. The 
others were afraid only that they might be dismissed. To ask them, 
as I have, whether they feel twinges of disloyalty to their country, 
is the merest buffoonery. They were loyal before Hitler betrayed 
everything that was good about it; when he seized power the 
only loyalty they could give was to those who meant to strike 
him down. I have seerr them when programmes were suddenly 
expanded, labouring feverishly through the day, in an underground 
room too small for them, as I have never seen anyone work for 
money or ambition. After the war a few plan to go back to a Germany 
they already see transformed into a, country fit for men to live in. 
But the number of these grows smaller ; two have already married 
English women, and the details of the past become as confusing as 
a dream which may have been good, bad or both, but is fading in 
the distance. 

As we go out into the passage, I have a feeling you are troubled 
by a problem you are too discreet to mention. In this wide suite of 
offices there is no need to fear international accidents, of the kind 
that abound downstairs. Please reassure yourself. But the number ? 
you protest. There seem so many announcers. Yet those were only 
a third; there are two other shifts which add up altogether to 
seventeen announcer-translators and twelve who only translate. 
Does that seem so many for a service which has a dozen programmes 
spread over the twenty-four hours of every day in the year ? To 
us it seems too few. 

But now that you are safely back at my desk and your arms 
have struggled into both their coat-sleeves, you fed you can risk a 
nearer approach to your real worry. You mention it casually, 
without noticeable curiosity. " Do they listen to you much? " 

1 Both have since been released. For an example of the German pftfn to 
speed up the internment of anti-Fascists see foot of page 126. 



46 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

Instead of answering, let me pass you the press extract which was 
occupying me when you came in, 

Stra$sburg*r N*v*ste Nachnchtm, March 15, 1941. 
HE GOT HIS DESERTS 
RADIO CRIMINAL CONDEMNED TO DEATH 

Wurzburg, March 14. 

The Nuremberg Special Court has sentenced the traitor Johann 
Wild of Nuremberg to death for two serious radio crimes. Both before 
and after the coming into effect of the radio decree he behaved as an 
enemy of state and people by continually listening to hostile broad- 
casts from abroad. Not content with that, he composed insultingtirades 
whose source was the enemy station. In these tirades, he revealed 
his treachery to the people by vulgar abuse of the Leader, as well 
as other prominent German personalities and the German Army. 
Some of these writings he sent to a Government Office, thereby giving 
v full vent to his hatred of National Socialist Germany; and he followed 
this up with the saboteur's suggestion that the general public were 
opposed to the work of this Government Office. 

In this situation, under the severe penalties instituted by the Radio 
Decree, the Special Court sentenced the incorrigible betrayer of 
his people to death. 

You see, the relationship between us and our audience is a special 
one. These who wanted to read you in the News Chronicle paid a 
penny for the privilege ; they heard you on the Home Service for 
the price of a wireless licence ; but a German risks death. If I 
seemed obstinate in cutting half your script, please put it down to 
my preoccupation with Johann Wild, who may have been sent to his 
death by someone more diffident than myself. Wild seems to have 
laboured under delusions about the Gestapo, which was presumably 
the Reichsstelle where he stupidly sent his lampoons. But most of 
our listeners know how quickly Himmler's agents arrive to check the 
denunciation made over the telephone while your first words boom 
from the loudspeaker. Be brief, they would advise you ; say only 
the most important things, or be silent. Your listener has, by 
merely turning a switch, the power to enforce your silence 0nd 
to ensure for himself a continued existence; he will use that 
switch if you forget the relationship of life and death which stands 
between you. 



THE WAR IN GERMAN 47 

You are re-reading die case of Johann Wild ? It is short and 
purposefully misleading. If you are interested in our audience, I 
will gladly tell you what I can. But perhaps you would let me show 
you round a transmitter which is broadcasting to Germany ? It is 
one of the poles in this rather dramatic relationship of life and death. 
On our way back we can discuss the other. 



THE FRONT LINE 

In winter the London streets are dark sometimes before the even- 
ing ; a shadow which might be mist or fog blackens their surface and 
solidifies in blocks where the bombed houses leave a gap. Only the 
brilliant red and green crosses of the traffic-lights hold one to reality, 
but they are all we need to follow the complex system leading to the 
receiving sets of Europe. One part of it lies in a network of wires 
below our car, and the other spreads around and above us in the ether. 
Human and visible, we slip on our way between the two. 

For what exactly happens to the voice of Jindrich Arndt in the 
studio of Station Beta ? By a process I do not understand, the micro- 
phone transforms it into an electric current of varying strength and 
frequency. This passes through the control-desk of Studio Five, 
down still deeper underground to the Control Room, where it is 
watched by engineers for any startling change in volume and is fed 
into a "tie-line" which joins a G.P.O. cable below the street 
Through this cable scores of private telephone conversations are pro- 
ceeding, and at the centre, screened off heavily from the others, are 
the B.B.C. lines on their way to the transmitters. Bombs broke these 
Underground circuits in many parts of the country that autumn, but 
the break in transmission never lasted much longer than Hoffmann's 
hesitation at the microphone. Reserve circuits run parallel and 
across the normal routes, so that the programme can be switched 
from one to another in a few seconds. If the bomb had exploded 
nearer Hoffinann, if it had killed him and wrecked all studios in the 
building, the interruption would still have been very short. An 
alternative network connecting with Station Gamma would have 
been switched into action, and the voice of Haller, who was killed 
there on stand-by duty in the following year, would have gone on 
with the news to Germany. 



48 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

Station Delta was in fact evacuated a few weeks after the' first 
hit; another followed, and the programmes had to be transferred 
the same night to Station Gamma. This time it was Hoffmann, 
again the hero of the hour, who was on stand-by duty. He was 
warned by telephone and proudly read the news unaccompanied by 
a Switch Censor. There was no hitch except in the Norwegian 
transmission, and here an announcer failed to find his way across 
London. A sub-editor of Danish descent performed miracles of 
improvisation at the microphone and filled the gap. Humanity had 
faltered, but the underground system of the engineers had done its 
job. 

But we have left London well behind us, it is afternoon again, 
and to distract you from the sober but misleading sights of the 
countryside I must struggle with metaphors. For broadcasting 
works on a similar principle to the conveyor belt of a factory. If we 
call the rise and fall of Arndt's electrified voice by their proper name 
of " modulations ", and follow them, as we are, along the cables, 
we shall find them joining a " carrier wave " whose name, in French 
as well as English, suggests the function of projecting them into the 
ether. The modulations by themselves are feeble things ; if we 
plugged a pair of headphones down through the road at this distance, 
we should imagine Arndt was talking on a far-off telephone, which 
would never reach his mother. But if they are feeble, their detail is 
infinite ; they will faithfully register every tone and inflection of a 
jazz lyric, every crescendo of a symphony orchestra, each accent of 
the thirty-nine languages in which we broadcast. They simply need 
projecting into space, and this is the function of the transmitter, 
which unites them with a wave as strong and constant as they are 
mercurial. 

It is getting seriously dark as we turn down side-roads and are 
confronted by a double row of railings crowned by spikes. Two 
soldiers demand our credentials, and seem, I am sorry to say, unduly 
suspicious of your temporary pass; but they let us in. Now, if you 
look through die window, you can see the masts. Set squarely on the 
plateau where all good aerials stand they reach high above the 
wood straggling into the distance. Their structure seems blade and 
unduly complicated, more like the Eiffel Tower or pithead cranes, 
the flowers of applied science in the nineteenth century. But as we go 
into the station, we find ourselves back in the true, unemotional 
atmosphere of today where the final secrets do not deign to impress 



THE WAR IN GERMAN 49 

the senses. In the high concrete halls, sounds echo wide and flat 
like the murmurs in a swimming bath. We hear the sustained bustle 
of generators, a Dutch voice reading news, and an occasional bell, as 
we pass through to the switch room. Here the current comes into 
the station from three alternative sections of the Grid, all of which 
would have to be put out of action to cause a break in transmission. 
It is controlled and fed through to the transmitters by giant electric 
switches. 

The packing cases you notice on the floor as we move on, contain 
transmitting valves. They were intended for export just before the 
war, and the words Sehr ZerbreMich ! Aufrecht Erhalten I are not 
stencilled on them in irony. The wall on our left to which a brick 
layer is putting finishing touches, is to protect the staff from the 
voltage passing through a speech modulation transformer on one of 
the new transmitters. But come back to the main hall and look at 
the transmitter itself. It is enclosed in an electrically sealed room 
made of metal, and the doors will only open when all power has been 
taken off. You peer into it through glass panels like those in the 
reptile house of a zoo and for the same reason, for among the 
unmoving shapes in front of you death awaits the visitor who touches 
one of the anodes on their waist-high insulators. The death is less 
horrible than that threatened by the Gestapo to the receiver of the 
messages, but it is swift and more certain. In the warm yellow light 
of this chamber nothing moves. It seems strange to you, who have 
written, after all, about the roar and activity of factories ; you feel, 
even* that the fantastic shapes, the glass bowls, the china cones and 
the unmoving metres, must be a fake display of abracadabra or else 
a potent form of magic. That cage of copper bands plated with 
nickel and interspersed and supported by porcelain washers, might 
be a work of art for art's sake. The colour of the bands has been 
graduated by the heat: gold at the centre, they turn smoothly 
into silver towards the top and base. It is only a giant tuning 
coil. 

The modulations, already amplified a little till they are louder 
than a telephone conversation, have been brought into the transmitter, 
and here, in a .valve like a goldfish bowl, are fused with the carrier- 
wave. The combined wave now goes through stage after stage of 
amplifying valves until it reaches a power of as many kilowatts as 
the station will accept. 

This transmitter is powerful, but radio power is not just a question 
4 



50 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

of the amount of electricity available. A high-powered station 
rtdiating a hundred kilowatts only takes as much energy from the 
mains as would heat two or three hundred radiators. If no station 
in the world has got beyond 1000 kilowatts, it is because of technical 
difficulties in converting the power to high frequencies. A dis- 
couraging fact is that to double the strength of the signal, you 
need four times the amount of power. We find it more profitable 
as a whole to reach our audience by going round the rock of 
brute force. 

But came a few paces across the red rubber floor to the control 
kiosk where tentacles from every corner of the sealed chamber are 
centralized. As we open the door we hear Arndt speaking to Germans 
abroad and any relatives in the Protectorate who are still interested. 
" Now the home front is faced with new privations/' he is having 
to say in those resonant tones with their trace of Sudeten accent. 
" It is announced officially that rationing of food is to be stricter 
and other foods must be given up because the war in the east 
is more arduous than any campaign hitherto. A further shortening 
of rations as a reward for bombs and loss of life on the home 
front ! " 

By the monitoring loudspeaker the junior maintenance engineer 
sits over his log book. Metres and lights in front of him, listening 
points at his back, tell what is happening at every stage in the 
transmitter. On his left the needles on a long row of dials flicker 
erratically but in perfect unison as they register the modula- 
tions of the voice. On his right five beads of red light show 
that the circuits are dosed and the voice is going steadily into 
the ether. 

" Does it interest you at all ? " I hear you say to the engineer. 

"Radio?" he asks. He has keen blue eyes; he is young, 
and there is something of the intelligent detachment of all 
engineers about him. "Yes, radio .interests me, but" he 
nods at the loudspeaker "I can't understand that." He 
smiles. 

" None of it ? Nd impression of a war ? " 

" Well, sometimes I pick up a phrase here and there, and then I 
listen to the Home Service. The French is all right, I passed matric, 
and I can get a sentence or two of that." 

" Reichsleiter Hermann Reischle suggests that the whole Stock 
Exchange has got out of order/' Arndt is going on. We seem to have 



THE WAR IN GERMAN 51 

something. " Ffficf*3lfti*^r Hermann Reischle knows what he 
is talking about ; swindle and deception everywhere, why not on the 
Stock Exchange too ? But simply controlling the rise and fall of 
stocks is like holding down die mercury in the thermometer lor a 
patient suffering from fever. The fever goes on rising, and the 
illness, though unregistered by the thermometer, proceeds to its 
fatal climax." He is reading well tonight. It sounds slow without 
the jamming, but he convinces. 

The engineer has got up to show us a mimic diagram switch-* 
board on the wall to his right. Eight hundred connections, he 
explains, are fed into the back of the picture. Tubes of red 
and green light show where the circuit runs through and where 
it is cut. If there is a fault, a white light shows the affected 
area, and a bell rings. 

Arndt is finishing, and we must start the journey back to London. 
You are surprised how few people we have met? Like the 
announcers, they work in a triple shift, but a big transmitter only 
needs three or four engineers at a time, two of whom are now women. 
Those bright copper pipes leading up the wall ? They are taking 
Arndt's closing sentences with their carrier-wave out to the aerial. 
But it is nearly dark outside, and no wires are visible between the 
pylons fading into the clouds. The starting-point of this long 
invisible journey can itself not be seen. 



RADIO CRIMINALS 

In Germany no one is listening to the voices from London, no 
one except a handful of " radio criminals ", mostly of foreign 
extraction. That was the official account. Even Fritzsche, whose 
business is to contradict these voices three times a week, has not 
heard them. He is informed by " someone who is kind enough to 
listen for me no one is capable of listening permanently to that 
kind of nonsense himself M . But for ordinary Germans tuning-in 
to foreign broadcasts which specifically included those of Germany's 
allies was illegal as well as boring. It was forbidden by decree 
before the military war began. 

" For a moment I had a curious feeling that I bad gone deaf/' 
said one of the last American journalists to get out of Berlin, He 



52 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

was describing the atmosphere among diners in the Adlon Hold. 
"From time to rime I noticed their lips moving, and I knew they 
must be talking but could not hear anything but a low mumble. 
Then I realized that everyone was talking just loudly enough to be 
. heard by the person with whom he was speaking. 99 We can imagine 
die dilemma this correspondent would have been in if his paper had 
wanted an estimate of the number of Germans listening to die B.B.C. 
The atmosphere would have been suggestive. The silent diners can 
easily enough be imagined tuning-in to a foreign station when they 
were alone, but direct questions on the subject would haye been 
useless, and the inquirer might have felt justified in guessing. From 
observers with direct or indirect experience of Germany in the first 
two years of war I heard guesses ranging from one to three million 
" regular listeners ". One traveller who left at the end of 1940 
managed to discover the Propaganda Ministry's estimate, which 
was then in the neighbourhood of a million ; but he could not 
explain how Dr. Goebbels arrived at that figure. A year later an 
American told how " some friends of mine who have just got out 
of Germany say that the man in the street never fails to listen to 
the B.B.C." More convincing, if less informative was a Swedish 
businessman's account of a second-hand conversation about the 
same time. " A client of mine had quite a long talk with a German, 99 
he said, " but unfortunately he was going back, and such people are 
careful. He said that he knew many people listen to Engl&nd, * but 
they won't speak about it '. He himself had heard nothing, he said, 
' nothing at all 9 . 99 

If we ignore guesswork, several facts remain and we can infer 
the development of listening with a high standard of probability. 
At die outbreak of war Germany had a high proportion of sets 
relative to the number of inhabitants. The current licences had 
readied 16-2 million at the Gad of June I94I, 1 but the area in which 
these .were held covered Austria, Czechoslovakia and the Ostland, 
as well as die Reich proper where the sale of receivers was not 
forbidden. A large class of the people who owned these sets hungered 
for news as Englishmen can scarcely imagine. A correspondent in 
Switzerland in die first year of the war has described the behaviour 
of German travellers at the first bookstall they came to beyond the 
Austrian frontier. " I was able, 99 he says, " to observe that all of 

1 Zeesen, on October 10, 1941. The full area which these figures included 
was only revealed several weeks later. 



THE WAR IN GERMAN 53 

them, die moment they were able to step on Swiss territory, stormed 
the stand and bought up all the Swiss newspapers. They devoured 
these right on the spot as the thirsty at a well. The unanimity of 
this incident was particularly interesting." 

But these Germans cannot have been a representative " sample ". 
They were probably habitual travellers, and they were too old to be 
affected by conscription. If their sons had been on a Strength 
through Joy excursion to Switzerland, they would probably have 
passed by the bookstall; impregnated since childhood with the 
Hitler myth, they would have marched past Tell monuments and 
the International Labour Office without noticing anything to disturb 
their vision. A young Marseillais, who had worked in a Danzig 
sugar-factory with other prisoners of war, reported that the older 
German workers listened to the B.B.C. in German and English, 
but the younger ones never listened. 

Many reports in the first three years of war implied this division 
between parents and children. " I should like to thank you especi- 
ally for the broadcasts in German/ 9 said a correspondent who 
obtained an exit permit to a neutral country in the summer of 
1941. " You have no idea how widely your transmission is still 
listened to in spite of severe sentences from one to three years* 
penal servitude. . . . The treatment meted out by the Gestapo 
and Police is really inhuman when anyone is denounced in con- 
nection with food offences, a remark or a mere bagatelle. Children 
at school and children in the Hitler Youth are even taught that 
it is their duty to inform, and this by the Party. But there are 
still honest people who simply have to keep silent. One encounters 
these silent and thoughtful people .everywhere in private, and 
then they confess to their dissatisfaction. Please continue to keep 
us informed." 

One of the more enlightened criticisms made in England of the 
B.B.C. 9 s German broadcasts was that they were not enough directed 
to the young, that whereas Moscow ran a special youth programme, 
the B.B.C.^neglected the overwhelming need of re-education. But 
the criticism escaping from Germany itself was invariably from the 
well educated and consequently from the old or middle-aged. " I 
hear continual complaints of the broadcasts from London/' wrote 
an observer in Goteborg, Sweden, at the end of 1941. "In London 
I doubt whether they know how much they are listened to, but 
the intellectuals I have met are depressed by them. Why don't the 



54 VOiCBS IN THE DARKNESS 

gftat tttilea speak more? Thomas Mann simply isn't enough. 
. * * Why d<m*t they eipldt Germany's former spirimd possessions, 
Goethe and Beethoven tod the genius of their painters, poets tod 
.musicians?" 

No evid&ice could have been so welcome as that the young, 
with their tommy-guns tod their ignorance, were well repre- 
sented among the audience in the early years of the war, but 
evidence was lacking. As long as there were victories, those who 
won them seem to have been equally inattentive to Moscow and to 
London; they believed in magic. It was necessary for the magic to 
fail before they would listen to reason. Then the welcome news 
began to arrive. In Danzig by the end of the third year it was 
admitted that boys were no longer joining the Hitler Youth as they 
should; in Wtirtemberg a girl of twenty-one was executed for 
" helping the enemy by spreading inciting propaganda " ; from 
many directions came evidence that the armed forces were beginning 
to listen. 

The first big-scale changes began to appear as soon as Hitler's 
victories were slowed down and before they were fully reversed. 
One of the developments which occurred at the end of 1941 
was that the civilian clientele of restaurants, with all its range 
of types, began to show openly that it no longer believed the 
German Radio. Three months after the invasion of the Soviet 
Union the Danziger Vorposten protested that " formerly absolute 
silence prevailed in restaurants when the news was read on the wire- 
less, but this is unfortunately no longer the case. When news is 
read nowadays people talk, laugh and make a noise with their glasses 
and plates." A few weeks afterwards the Strassburger Neueste 
Nachnchten reported a sentence of two and a half years' penal 
servitude on a Wilhelm Meier of Bombach. He had been drinking 
in a restaurant when the wireless programme was interrupted by 
the ** special announcement " of a further victory over Bolshevism ; 
While Liszt's fanfares were still playing he got up suddenly and 
requested that the radio should be shut off. 

The German press was surprisingly informative about the 
audience, provided we take account of its motives and reject the 
furious partisanship of its reporting. The severity of sentences for 
listening to foreign stations steadily increased until the autumn of 
1941, and the prominence and repetitive treatment given to the 
ewes make it dear that they Were intended as a warning. Penalties 



THE WAR IN GERMAN 55 

were imposed before the military war broke out, but they were 
limited for the most part to a few weeks' imprisonment and minor 
fines. 1 In Hamburg on March i, 1940, Ferdinand and Ernst 
Reimers were sentenced to five years' penal servitude for listening 
to and discussing die B.B.G's news. . But although the Propaganda 
Ministry already estimated there were about a million other listeners, 
this severity was in advance of its time. At the baginping of the 
following year, for which Hitler promised final victory, the sentences 
were still averaging only one, two or three years ; but in the e^rly 
summer when the prospect had disappeared, batches of half a dozen 
or more convictions began to appear in the papers. In June a whole 
family! headed by the father of sixty-eight, were imprisqned. In 
August the Hamburger Fremdenblatt reported a group in which 
several Poles were named ; their sentences had risen to seven, eight 
and nine years ; and before different methods of combating the 
B.B.C. were adopted, not only had Johann Wild been executed 
(in March), but the sentence on the ordinary German had become 
four, five or six years. 

The cases were all reported in the same style : 

RADIO CRIMINALS CONDEMNED 

Emil Rasper, aged 66, and 50-year-old Heinrich Kerkhof, both 
from Cuxhaven, were two lost members of the community. They 
stood before the Special Court at Hannover on a charge of being radio 
criminals. In spite of the penalties imposed for radio crimes, they 
had been unable to resist listening regularly to the lying news of the 
English broadcasts. Kasper admitted having listened to foreign 
transmissions for nearly a year since March 1940. In this period he 
was repeatedly visited by the fellow-accused, Kerkhof, who had also, 
on one occasion, tuned in the set to a foreign station. The Special 
Court sentenced Kasper to three years' penal servitude and loss of 
civil rights fpr five year. , . . Kerkhof had to pay for his crime 
. against the community with one and a half years 9 penal servitude and 
loss of civil right? for three years. 2 

1 According to the Mtinchner Neueste Nachrichten of August 4, 1940, there 
were 225 convictions for listening between April 1939 and March 1940. Of 
these, eleven received prison sentences varying between one and eight weeks, 
and 214 were fined from 3 to 200 Rm. But other papers reported sentences 
of two and five years' penal servitude in the first few months of 1940. Eqiially 
heavy sentences were indicted as early as 1937 for listening specifically to 
Moscow. 

* Hamburger Fremdenblatt, April 5, 1941. 



VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 



OLD JITTERFOOT TUNES IN TO LONDON 

(From the Hamburger lUiutrierte, February 7, 1942) 




Old Jitterfoot at dead of night 
gets London on his wireless. 

He thinks himself extremely bright 5 
his secrecy is tireless. 

He hears how Churchill's bound to win, 
how we'll be drawn and quartered, 

that England's latest bombers skim 
backwards among the slaughtered. 




The Reds have reached Berlin in queues, 

and every head is falling; 
but snow and ice obscure the view 

and hide the most appalling. 

The Esquimaux have joined the line 
to hack us into gory blots ; 

bloodthirsty, waiting on a sign, 
are aerial Hottentots. 




Old Jitterfoot in great alarm 
creeps sadly to his bedclothes* 

Invading pleasant dreams of balm, 
hit deed induces death-throe*. 



A frog, like Churchill, scares him stiff, 

an evil nightmare figure, 
which greets him smartly with a biff 

and leaves him with a snigger. 



THE WAR IN GERMAN 



57 




Next day he meets a friend in woe 
who whispers, eyes a-glisten, 

" Have you heard London's radio ? 
It's worth a risk to listen." 



That was too much for Jitterfoot, 
who hadn't slept for terror. 

He raised his boot, a good right boot 
and socked him without error. 




Moral 

The London or the Moscow fan 
deserves the cup of hemlock. 

He has no use for legal bans 
and needs a penal deathlock. 

He's lost his head- that's why he feels 
so much. below the weather. 

Unless his trouble quickly heals, 
he'll lose it altogether ! 



The macabre jocularity of this threat was typical of Nazi humour. 
In his book The Goebbels Experiment, Mr. Weidenfeld describes 
how Hadamowsky told radio officials after the purge of the German 
Radio in 1933 : " All major officials with anti-National Socialist 
bias have been dismissed, though only one has behaved like a 
gentleman and hanged himself". Following this remark, the 
Vdlkucher Beobachter reported : " Prolonged laughter and cheers ". 



VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

Propaganda Ministry attempted to reduce the listeners to a 
criminal type. ** Their listening lowers their powers of resistance 
a$4 brings about a spiritual self-mutilation no less criminal than 
self-mutilation by an army conscript " (National Zettung, May 14, 
194;). They are " traitors and saboteurs " (Hamburger Fremden- 
blatty August 10, 1941). They indulge in " fornication " (VoMscher 
Beobachter> December 4, 1942). Occasionally a " medical counsellor " 
is called in to discuss their sanity (Oldenburgiscfe Staatszeitung, 
September 5, 1947). Around their crime other perversions con- 
stellate. Ths forty-seven-year-old Peters of Oldenburg " maltreated 
his wife and children in a most infamous manner. Peters was by 
nature a sadist and moral degenerate. In spite of the legal ban, 
he listened to Moscow and spread what he heard " (Hamburger 
Fremdenblatt, October 3, 1941). 

Among all these puppets I have found only one human character 
half recognizable for a moment before she is dragged out of sight. 
Susanna Kiefer, an Alsatian, was described by the Oberstaatsanwalt 
5vho prosecuted her in May 1941^ as " an obviously malicious woman 
who too often lets her tongue run away with her and curses everyone 
ind everything. But it cannot be tolerated," he went on, " that such 
mlgar insults should be used against the Leader, the Wehrmacht 
ind the German people." She had listened, and this was still more 
serious, to foreign stations, particularly the English. He must ask for 
two and a half years' penal servitude and two years 9 loss of civil rights. 

Susanna admitted using " a few quite ordinary insults ", but 
denied everything else. " I wouldn't have used such vulgar expres- 
sions," she said. " I am too well educated." 

" And listening to foreign wireless stations ? " asked the presiding 
Staatsprasident Dr. Huber. " Isn't that true, either ? " 

" It's quite untrue. I've had Switzerland. , . . And that, well 
that's an international station." 

41 An international English station, yes ! " rejoined the President. 

She was found guilty on all charges and sentenced to three years 
oss of civil rights as well as to two years' penal servitude. 

Early in the autumn of 1941 the news service of the German 
Radio ceased to be plausible even to the listener who made no 
ittempt to check it with outside sources. Accustomed to an unbroken 
series of swift and victorious invasions, the propaganda machine 
>ehavcd as it always had done, claiming that the roads to Leningrad, 
and Moscow lay open and the Red Armies were destroyed at 



THE WAR IN GERMAN 59 

the time scheduled in the plan of campaign. The fact that cvtnts 
were at last dragging behind was temporarily concealed by a repetition 
of the claims in different words but with the same fanfares. Finally, 
at the beginning of October, a supreme assurance had to be given by 
Hitler himself over all German and conquered transmitters that 
" this opponent is already broken and will never rise again ". Lulled 
for a few days by this cheque on Hitler's personal credit, the doubts 
that had been growing solidified quickly enough into permanent 
suspicion. 

It was nearly a year before Goebbels would admit that the German 
people had been deceived. 1 "No wand again we have overestimated 
our chances and underestimated those of our adversaries/' he wrote 
then. " We have wrongly estimated the enemy's powers of 
resistance and consequently have required a longer period to 
achieve certain objectives than had been anticipated. These, how* 
ever, were exceptions." 

But the roads to Leningrad and Moscow were still not open, and 
two assumptions of infallibility had been destroyed which could 
not be repaired by belated admissions. First, the authority of the 
radio had been called in question, and secondly the basis of armed 
invincibility on which German propaganda had grown strong, as 
any propaganda must grow strong, had been removed. News, 
which had been a romantic demonstration of that invincibility, 
became the story of a vast deadlock and then of a retreat ; therefore 
it could not be told except as a statement of Gentian heroism. Once 
the attack on Crete had been withheld from these motives, and now 
there was nothing to report of the greatest battle in history. It was 
the dilemma to which all propagandists who have put themselves 
above the truth must eventually come. Nor was it made more 
pleasant for Goebbels by the fact that the Russian propaganda 
machine, which for two years had been studiously neutral, had come 
into action beside the British. 

At once there were indications of a vast increase in listening. 
Speaking in the Ministry of Justice at the end of September, the 
Berlin State Secretary Freisler advocated that the public should be 
told of the existence of instruments which detected all radio-sets 
tuned to Moscow or London. In the following weeks several papers 
obediently printed the story. As soon as the speech readied Station 
Beta, the engineers were consulted on the technical possibility of 

1 In an article broadcast on July 10, 



6o VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

such a device, and news bulletins were preceded by an assurance 
that it did not exist. 

Also in Berlin an official of the Propaganda Ministry told Howard 
K. Smith, the Columbia Broadcasting representative, that arrests 
for radio crimes had tripled by the middle of October. The same 
month Goebbels published a list of stations to which listening was 
allowed. In November, according to Howard Smith, all Germans 
received with their ration cards " a little red card with a hole 
punched in the middle of it so that it might be hung on the 
station-dial of a radio set, and on the card was the legend : 
( Racial Comrades ! You are Germans ! It is your duty not 
to listen to foreign stations. Those who do so will be mercilessly 
punished.'" 1 

A few days later local Nazi chiefs visited houses near Howard 
Smith to see whether the cards had been fixed to the sets. " People 
who had no radio sets," he says, " were told to keep the cards 
anyhow, and to let them be a reminder not to listen to the conversa- 
tion of people who did have radios and tuned-in on foreign stations." 
The effect of these elaborate precautions was to stimulate the 
curiosity of those who had been afraid to listen and to convert them 
into regular listeners. 

The fate of Johann Wild had not been allowed to escape from 
public memory. Communism was listed more and more prominently 
among the crimes for which he had been executed. But fresh 
executions did not follow at once. Listening had become too 
commonplace. During the third war winter sentences on radio 
criminals dropped sharply to an average of six months to two years, 
with no loss of civil rights, and a pessimistic interpretation was ruled 
out by a report on a central German town of some 25,000 inhabitants, 
no fewer than 250 of whom had been denounced for listening to the 
B.B.C. Only eight of the accused were prosecuted, and all of these 
had listened publicly in restaurants. If this was the situation in the 
heart of Germany, it was certainly further out of hand in, say, the 
Rhineland or Hamburg. 

In Dtisseldorf early in 1942 eleven Catholic clergymen were 
prosecuted Five of them, ranging from a Dekant to a Pfarrer, 
were sentenced to hard labour for periods varying between six 
months and three years, but contrary to the invariable policy of 
earlier years the case was given a fnlnimntri of prominence. Some 
1 Last Train from BtrUn* by Howard K. Smith. 



THE WAR IN GERMAN 61 

months afterwards, however, it was announced that the terms of 
imprisonment had all been practically doubled by order of the 
Public Prosecutor. Although radio crimes were attributed to all 
the fourteen conspirators executed in Mannheim that summer, 
listening in itself would not have been enough to bring them in 
front of the People's Court. Unrest was at last beginning to 
take more active forms. The prosecution of five Frankfurt arms 
workers later in 1942 for listening and spreading the news, ended 
in the execution of a "Marxist" works engineer, aged only 
thirty-one, and sentences up to ten years 9 penal servitude on the 
rest. 

Besides additional jamming measures, Goebbels had adopted one 
other defence in answer to the B.B.C. transmissions. As an inventor 
convinced of the self-evident importance of his discoveries, the 
German Radio had been too busy proclaiming its own vision to spend 
much time on contradictions of it which were plainly too trivial to 
matter. It had unbent enough to laugh now and then at our 
optimism over Norway, at a story rashly put out in the first year of 
the war that all German dogs were to be destroyed owing to the 
scarcity of food but there had been no need to contradict at length 
when the campaigns themselves were sufficiently eloquent. Then, 
in the autumn of 1941 it began to turn tothe defensive* Instead of 
demanding Lebensraum, asserting the rights of German minorities 
and proclaiming the invincibility of the Wehrmacht, it spent its time 
on warnings and denials. 

The warnings were of destruction : " We must not lose this war, 
for it would mean the loss of national life, culture and the existence 
of every individual German ". 1 The denials were of British and 
Russian propaganda. Built as an answer to London first and to 
Moscow only second, this counter-propaganda may not have 
been a completely accurate index to the size of the two audiences. 
There were constant indications from Germany that they were 
separate; a listener tuned-in regularly to London or Moscow, 
but rarely to both. It seems probable, too, that motives of political 
loyalty would have existed in the Moscow listeners which would 
have made them more impervious to denials than the London 
audience, who listened primarily for information. Roars of anger 
were directed against Moscow, but the exactness with which 
the bulk of reaction answered the B.B.C was too big a com- 
1 German Radio, February 2, 1942. 



62 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

plimcat to overlook. 1 It was ao longer Qqebbels, but 9 
analysis of Station Beta's output which provided the b*$is of 
directives. 

Under his own name, Goebbels contributed a fortnightly, and 
later a weekly, orgy of denials to Das Reich which was broadcast on 
the night of publication. Ley, Quade, Lutzow, Bade and many less 
known speakers joined Fritzsche in the work of counter-propaganda. 
Some of it was ingenious, particularly the invention of endless items, 
which we had never given, for dismissal with scorn. But the moral 
appeals were less convincing. Has the radio criminal no feeling of 
national honour ? Goebbels asked. " Does he not flush with fury 
when in these broadcasts his country, his Fiihrer, his people, but 
above all his country's soldiers are covered with dirt every day? 
Or does he expect us to issue for his sake every day from dawn to 
nightfall denials of that flood of lies ? " 2 

It is what both he and the German Radio, sometimes directly, 
sometimes indirectly, were already doing. For the first time the 
initiative was lost that winter on the radio as it was on the frozen 
ground of Russia. 

By 1943 the vocabulary of the German loudspeaker had echoed 
the reversal from attack to defence, from glory to approaching 
despair. The verbs Coventrieren (1940-1941) and Wetter Romneln 
(mid-1942) did not lead to the " final ", " decisive ", " annihil- 
ating " nouns they had promised, but to an ugly little imperative. 
Durchhalten ! Hold out ! came from the last years of the last 
war, but by 1943 tb*t was all the German Radio had to offer its 
audience. 

Strange defensive arguments had begun to appear before then, 
an emphasis, for instance, on the inferior quality of American 
armaments without reference to their quantity j and a mind which 
traced these disturbances below the surface had to infer that a great 
change, like water coming to the boil, was proceeding invisibly as 
the Allies prepared. 

" We are not so stupid in political matters as you think/ 9 a 
listener wrote from the heart of Germany in the summer of 1942, 
before the Russian or Anglo-American offensives were launched. 
" For the most part it is only our new ilite that is stupid, the noble 

1 It was possible to draw up the statements and answers in a neat table. V. 
Appendix I. 

1 German Radio, Augqat 15, *94*< 



THE WAR IN GERMAN 63 

Nordic Atyan ultra-supermen. But the nilc of this brood is comi^ 
to an end, and I prophesy, in this coming winter even though they 
still overcome a large slice of Russia, it will make no imprws&a 
now on an enlightened mind, the Third Reich is at its last gasp. 
Furthermore, we think you and the Americans are preparing some- 
thing very great, for that you are asleep ... is believed only by 
the most stupid Nazis." 

In November 1942 when the African offensive was launched, 
the German Radio was blindly beating down the fears at work in 
its audience. Some of the blows (and fears) were uncannily accurate. 
A fortnight before the Americans landed, Dr. Dietrich, Chief of the 
German Press, reassured his audience that " the existing shipping 
position of Britain and the U.S.A. makes it impossible to start 
further operations." As the giant convoys were actually under way 
across the Atlantic the Italian Radio said : " The presence of Italian 
submarines in the Atlantic makes the British Admiralty dizzy," 
and Goebbds, apparently trying to quieten all fears for good, asked : 
" Will a power which is not ready for an offensive today ever be 
ready for one ? " 

It was a Sunday when the North African landings were carried 
out, and Hitler had to speak in the evening on the anniversary of 
the Munich Putsch. In the atmosphere of that meeting one could 
hear an unspoken question. For on that momentous day, what had 
happened to the magician who had spent a lifetime preparing victories 
and producing them ? His voice was the same, but he was saying 
the wrong things. Instead of describing the precision of his move* 
ments, instead of prophesying what he was going to do and that 
had been his glory and terror he prophesied what the closing dfdte 
of Allies would be unable to do. They would not make him 
capitulate, they would not get away with this coup and escape counter* 
measured, he wasn't going to be confused with the leaders of Imperial 
Germany. It was almost tragic. He had become like one of the, 
weak politicians of the Republic confronting the threat of his owH 
Storm Battalions. He, the genius of propaganda, had lost the 
secret. 

Afterwards he fought back as if the campaigns had been planned 
by himself. The fanfares blared out as his troops matched down 
to the Rivieta; the Wehrmacht fought in the South and last 
" according to plan ". But Hitler had been thrown finally tod 
irrecoverably on the defensive. And since his magic had depended 



64 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

on his will and power to attack, he began from that day to lose his 
audience. The radio, they had been taught to believe, was an 
oracle holding the secrets of the future, but the secrets had migrated 
to London, Moscow and New York. 



HOW TO SPEAK TO GERMANY 

" Once you heard the voice of a man* and it struck deep into your hearts ; it 
awakened you, and you followed this voice. Year after year you went after it, though 
him who had spoken you never even saw. You heard only a voice and you followed 
it. . . . The wonder of us coming thus together fills us all. Not everyone of you sees 
me and I do not see every one of you. But Ifeelyou> and you feel me I " HITLER at 
Nuremberg in 1936. 

When we leave the technical relationship between studio and 
listener for the problem of what London should say and has said to 
Germany we are plunged immediately among controversies. One of 
the more unpolitical of them needs a preliminary glance if only 
because it is rarely noticed. Was Hitler wise in his view that the 
German listener should be treated as a microbe ? The tendency 
among those who have analysed his technique of propaganda at all 
deeply is to reply in tones of admiration that he was. Serge Chakotin* 
most impressive of the analysts, is so fascinated to find principle 
after principle of the conditioned reflex being applied with success 
to a nation instead of to experimental dogs that he sometimes writes 
of Hitler in tones more appropriate to his master Pavlov. However 
abominable Hitler's aim, for Chakotin and many others, the 
propaganda means he used to attain it form an archetype for the 
future. " There is only one effective method/' he says in The Rape 
of the Masses, " to meet them with violent propaganda, to counteract 
their tendency to psychical rape by equivalent action on the psychism 
of the masses, but "he adds a little uneasily" without recourse 
to lying. 1 ' 

By this Chakotin seems to mean more thfly that an 



wartime reply to German propaganda should follow the same 
technique and speak but " without recourse to lying "the same 
language. The books, newspapers, radio and cinema screens of the 
world are to be turned into a vast conditioning-plant for all time ; 
the masses should be raped for good. We are not here concerned 



THE WAR IN GERMAN 65 

with surgical defloration on this scale, but with National-Socialist 
Germany, and there are already one or two reservations that need 
to be made to the claims of objective psychology. It is easy, for 
instance, to place too much emphasis on the short-run effect. Can 
we consider the German expansion without its inevitable collapse ? 
Can we reasonably isolate the decade of conditioning and draw 
conclusions valid for a lifetime? But the questions are unreal 
because the German people were neither microbes nor dogs, but 
human beings, who are more complex. Pavlov himself was more 
cautious in extending his canine principles to human beings. " It 
would be the height of presumption," he wrote, " to regard these 
first steps in elucidating the physiology of the cortex as solving the 
intricate problems of the higher psychic activities in man, when in 
fact at the present stage of our work no detailed application of its 
results to man is yet permissible." l 

If we consult the experience of hypnotists we find some facts 
which are even more applicable to Hitler's career than are the findings 
of Pavlov. Unlike a dog submitted to the technique of conditioned 
stimulation, a human being can decide whether he will allow himself 
to be hypnotized or not. If he decides against it, he cannot be 
hypnotized. This is because successful hypnosis depends (to speak 
loosely) on the abdication of the conscious mind in favour of the 
unconscious ; when the first is suppressed, the hypnotist has merely 
to give his orders and they will be carried out faithfully whether 
they entail a distaste for butter or an excursion against the Soviet 
Union. They will be carried out often with remarkable determina- 
tion, like a drunkard's or a sleepwalker's. The hypnotist needs a 
dominating personality, a manner that convinces, and he can 
steadily increase his influence on the patient by regular visits. In 
his absence, his influence slowly subsides ; but it can be damaged 
by instructions that are contradictory or impossible to fulfil. 

If there is anything valid in this comparison, it is not surprising 
that Germany with her periodic desire for domination should have 
assented to Hitler (in succession to Bismarck and Wilhelm II in less 
neurotic periods) while the Englishman, descended from generations 
living in relative freedom and independence, covered his would-be 
dictator with ridicule. Hitler made his personality dominant by 
every possible means. His victims were never allowed to get 
away from him. They saw everywhere hi picture and swastika, 

1 Pavlov : Introduction to Lscturts on Condition*! Rjfltxts, vol. ii. 
5 



66 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

recalling his myth in concentrated visual form. He spoke simply, 
for tens of millions, not hundreds of thousands, and his instruc- 
tions were monotonously the same. Though he contradicted 
himself, it was on a logical, not an emotional plane, and his 
speeches were not collected in book-form for the extent of these 
contradictions to be seen. His infallibility was asserted as loudly 
as any god's. The German Radio summed up the ideal relation- 
ship when it defined the Third Reich as " a country in which 
eighty million people worship one Fiihrer who keeps diem in his 
magnetic power M . 1 

The importance of sound has a special place both in the experi- 
ments of Pavlov and of hypnotists from the earliest times. To the 
ringing of a bell Pavlov's dogs learnt to respond as if they were about 
to be given food. It is with his voice that the hypnotist gives his 
orders. Nor was it mere chance that the period when radio first 
penetrated into the ordinary man's household coincided with Hitler's 
rise to a power more spectacular than any previous ruler's. If his 
personality was an ideal combination for a mass hypnotist, the 
loudspeaker was an ideal instrument to distribute it. A Nazi author, 
Hans Miinster, did not hesitate to point out that " just as Gutenberg's 
discovery (printing) is linked with Luther's work, so are the coming 
of wireless and the discovery of the loudspeaker linked with Hitler's 
achievements ". 2 

As Hitler was fighting his way to the Chancellery, a German 
film studio produced a film unconnected with the National Socialist 
Movement, which portrayed an omnipotent dictator who ruled by 
loudspeaker. Even his closest followers received their orders by 
this means ; to them the dictator himself was disembodied, an 
amplifying horn with wires attached. Hitler realized that it was 
necessary not simply, to emphasize his semi-divine superiority, but 
to emphasize it simultaneously to all Germans, not as individuals 
who might criticize but as members of a crowd, who would be 
more easily swayed. The common ideal of radio-theorists was 
to organize listeners into a vast series of crowds and gradually to 
eliminate absentees. In 1941 it was revealed that the Institute for 
Broadcasting Research at Berlin University had more ambitious 
plans than any that had been put into practice. Loudspeaker 
columns were to be erected in the streets all over Germany so 

1 Bremen, in Dutch for Holland, May 13, 1940. 
1 Publisistik, Leipzig^ 1939. 



' THE WAR IN GERMAN 67 

that " the man in the street " could be told the same thing every- 
where at the moment. 

Ideally the technical resources were to be so organized that the 
audience at a given moment should be nothing less than the whole 
nation. Group listening was just a step towards this ideal. Such 
groups, said Dr. Eckert, " have given a decisive increase to the 
striking power of wireless as a means of leadership 'V Simultaneous 
and mass listening were simply tactics in the German strategy of 
subjecting the individual to the state. They emphasized the mastery 
and hypnotic power of the Leader. They made possible " a new 
style of broadcasting, a style which need no longer address itself to 
the individual listener ", for by this means access could be won to 
the layers of the mind on which a hypnotist can work, layers where 
the critical faculties do not operate. 

The authority possessed by the loudspeaker is beginning to be 
recognized, and in time our cliches will pay it the compliments they 
have lavished in the past few centuries on the printed word. It has 
obvious advantages. Its power to convey personality is stronger 
over short periods, and the listener need not concentrate with the 
active effort of a reader. It can inflict shocks greater than headlines. 
True, the turn of a switch can silence the voice, but in the Third 
Reich care was taken to make this act a crime if it was done publicly 
on occasions of vital stimulation. In Wupperthal in the fourth 
year of war a labour court sanctioned the dismissal of a woman 
worker for reading while Hitler was speaking. 2 

Unfortunately the act of listening to rival voices, which would 
weaken the hypnotist's influence, was also made a crime. Advice 
that the B.B.C. in speaking to Germany should copy Hitler's 
technique ignored this essential fact. But it ignored much more, 
for the success of Hitler's propaganda was based on the authority it 
was given. Ministerial dignities were not enough ; it was granted 
spotlights with the glamour of the stage, ritual taken from the Church, 
moral backing which made its acceptance a duty. For a second 
hypnotic voice, for another course of conditioning, there was no 
room. 

As I switch on the German programmes from London on another 
synthetic day in 1941, the " propaganda-scientist " is likely to be 
more indignant than the politician, but that need not worry anyone 

1 " Der Rundfunk alt P&hrungsmitttl." 
1 German Press, September 19* 2942. 



68 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

who thinks of the listener crouching in furtive solitude over his set 
while he compromises between losing the sentences in the jamming 
and denouncing himself to the Gestapo. It would be wiser to speak 
to this microbe as a human being, for that is what, in these un- 
crowded circumstances, he has become. 



DAWN, CULTURE AND REVOLVERS 

Through the night, in the great belts of German industry stretch- 
ing up the Rhine through Diisseldorf and Frankfurt and across 
central Europe with the Elbe to Magdeburg, Dresden, Czecho- 
slovakia, the factories have been working against time and the 
industries of the outside world. The shifts change in the early 
hours, unfortunately not all at the same moment but unevenly; 
sections of workers pull on their clothes and go to the factory, while 
others leave for home. 

The German Radio is already at work on the minds temporarily 
away from the controls. In the first world war, strikes were one of 
the decisive defeats, and this time even the word, even the news of 
their existence in America before she entered the war, was withheld. 1 
The B.B.G. is also at work, but what is worth saying at five in the 
morning ? News, certainly, news read slowly and repeated three 
times in full. But can talks be urgent enough for a weary, war-sick 
land before daylight, when sounds penetrate and the fate of Johann 
Wild has been well advertised ? It is hard not to be disappointed 
in the German service at that time in the morning. A member of 
the Labour Party is speaking. 

" What would happen if Britain were to win the war?" (But it is 
January 1941, less than a fortnight after Hitler promised quick 
victory for Germany.) " What would happen ? 

" Goebbels and Hitler tell you that a British victory would mean 
the destruction of the German people. If that were true you would 
go on fighting to the last man. But is it ? Remember you are not 
fighting a small clique of international financiers but a free people. 
It is not the City of London but the millions of members of the British 
Trade Unions and Labour Movement who are the deadly enemies 

1 But the populations of the occupied territories were informed of American 
strikes, perhaps to weaken their faith in the omnipotence of U.S. production. 



THE WAR IN GERMAN 69 

of Nazi Germany, and our Labour leaders are collaborating with the 
Churchill government. When we win, peace terms will be made only 
with our consent. We want not the destruction of Germany but a 
world in which the German and British peoples work together as 
friends. 

" We who know Germany well have told our colleagues here that 
the German workers are human beings like ourselves with the same 
hatred of cruelty and injustice and brutality. But as this war goes 
on and you remain the accomplices of the men behind the War 
Machine, it becomes daily harder for us to convince them. For 
they say to us : ' If the German workers really hated cruelty, 
injustice and brutality they would stop this war. They have the 
power to do so . . .' 

" I know the dangers under the Terror. But I must tell you this : 
the longer the war lasts, the more cities your airmen Coventrieren, 
the more implacable our will to victory will become, and the harder 
it will be to achieve a just peace. We shall win, with or without you. 
But it depends on you whether by our victory you achieve peace and 
justice." 

Objections arise from all angles. Was this manner convincing at 
a moment when we had nearly lost the war ? And how far were the 
German people our friends ? If not very far, would retributive 
threats from the Old Testament have been better ? l If they were 
our friends or if the pretence was at least expedient would they 
be dejected by the fate of Coventry after they themselves had 
suffered three months of night bombing before the Luftwaffe 
replied? Since history has shown that this appeal produced no 
movement of revolt, can we assume another would have been 
more successful ? 

These and other criticisms, which might occur to anyone at 
dawn, are likely to inflame the passions of many readers throughout 
this chapter. I do not raise them to answer or reject, but to postpone 
tintil the end of the book. 

Many of the programmes in 1941 are " angled " for a specific 
type of listener. The Labour Party candidate's appeal would 
have been less impressive if one had not known that he was talk- 
ing to workers on the morning shifts of the war machine. What 
audience there is at five in the morning can be reasonably assumed 
to consist of these, and even more accurately of elder workers 

1 On New Year's Day, 1941, the Dawn talk ended : " Before peace comes the 
German people will have much to suffer. Suffering will be your lot ; you cannot 
avoid it. Germany is ill ; she will not easily be cured." 



70 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

who regained some of their leadership in factories combed of 
young men. They are given mainly informative talks and analyses 
of events ; on Wednesdays a military review, on Saturdays descrip- 
tions of resistance in occupied countries. They are encouraged 
to link up with the millions of foreign workers and in the early 
stages of the war incitement to sabotage was more dearly 
approached here than at any other time of the day. None of 
the other "angled" programmes can work as safely on the 
assumption that they are being heard by the people to whom 
they are addressed. 

After the dawn transmissions London does not speak again in 
German until the middle of the morning, and then only for a quarter 
of an hour. At lunch-time it again gives news, now directly challeng- 
ing the propaganda news of the German Radio. For a fortnight 
in November 1941 when the longwave European transmitter first 
opened up, these two services were running beside each other, 
unjammed, as alternatives. Turning the dial for Deutschlandsender, 
the listener can scarcely have missed London a few kilocycles higher 
on the scale. If he was not from habit a radio criminal, he must 
have been surprised. It was not simply that the news was bad 
that the Red armies were successfully holding Moscow and Rommel 
was retreating across Lybia; nor just that these victories were 
announced without fanfares or radio silences. Through long 
depressing months the sub-editors had got used to telling a different 
story. They had learnt to admit British defeats fully and to refrain 
from crowing over victories of which there had been few enough. 
On the German Radio ships, unless they had the inescapable solidity 
of the Graf Spec or the Bismarck, never sank ; they only faded away. 
No U-boat met its end ; retreats were merely " readjustments of an 
unstable line ". What thoughts must have awakened in minds used 
to such denials on hearing London give the loss of a cruiser its fair 
prominence, or begin, " The news from the Pacific is grave " when 
the Afrika Korps was decimated and Moscow was out of danger ? 
The stray listener was probably tempted to come again ; the radio 
criminal, who had heard the truth from us about defeat, can scarcely 
have doubted the victories. 

News was not the only lack in Germany that the lunch-time 
programme supplied. "When I hear the word culture, I cock 
my revolver," wrote the playwright Hanns Johst before he 
became President of the Reich Chamber of Literature ; and culture, 



THE WAR IN GERMAN 71 

taking note, emigrated beyond range. From there, although it has 
to be careful how and what it says, its voice can speak from Station 
Beta* Technical difficulties are considerable because of the number 
of German writers who went to America. As long as Thomas Mann 
lived in New York, his voice could be beamed directly across the 
Atlantic, but complications involving records and trans-American 
planes set in when he moved to Hollywood. He still spoke regularly 
once a month. 

The first time was in March 1941 before the German armies 
had been halted or even checked. Bulgaria had just been occupied 
and the Jugoslav government had signed a pact of submission to the 
Axis. When his message was repeated in the evening, bombs were 
falling in the streets outside the studio. " German listeners ! " he 
said. " What I had to tell you from the distance has been spoken 
to you until now by other mouths. This time listen to my own voice. 
It is the voice of a friend, a German voice, the voice of a Germany 
which has shown and will again show the world a face different from 
the frightful Medusa mask which Hitlerism has imposed. It is a 
warning voice. To warn you is the only service that a German like 
myself can now do for you. 

" Those * evil men ', evil in the final and deepest sense of the 
word, who lead you, know well that every victory leaves you disturbed, 
that you mistrust these victories as a mirage, that you fear the 
impossible, unrealizable role of slave-owners these men intend for 
you. They know that you are longing for peace, for a responsible 
life in common with the other peoples of the earth, for the end of this 
horrible, immeasurable adventure of Hitler's war, and for that reason 
they try with all their strength to win prestige from the successes 
their crimes still bring in, successes which are no more than further 
desperate crimes. Your press boasts that the Power of the Idea under 
Arms is about to eliminate the last resistance to the New Order. The 
power of arms, this must mean, for where is the idea ? The idea is 
force and villainy, and there is a great distance to go before the final 
resistance is broken to that and the intolerable degradation of man- 
kind which its triumph would mean. The resistance is alive, on its 
feet; it is powerful, tough and unbending. It is called England, and 
England is a world. 

" Your leaders demand peace. They still dripping with the 
blood of their own and other peoples dare to shape this word with 
their tonguesPeace ! By that they mean subjugation, the legalizing 



72 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

of their crimes, the acceptance of what is humanly intolerable. But 
it cannot happen* With a Hitler, peace is impossible because he is 
from the depths of his being incapable of peace, and because this 
word in his mouth is a soiled, diseased lie like every other word ever 
spoken by him. As long as Hitler and his regime of fire-raisers 
exist, you Germans will have no peace. Never ! (His voice has 
lifted, fitting the loudspeaker.} Peace under no conditions. For 
ever it must go on as it does now with its desperate deeds of violence, 
if only to keep at bay the forces of revenge, if only to prevent the 
enormously growing waves of hate from engulfing you. (But now 
his voice falls back, as if tired of convincing his audience insuffici- 
ently.} To warn you, people of Germany, means to fortify you in 
your own worst suspicions. (Then clearly, coldly, separating the 
words.} I can do no more." 

The polemics which started with this warning, and to which cold 
print and my translation do damaging injustice, are among the finest 
that European writers have produced. Mann invites comparison 
with Victor Hugo in exile from the Second Empire in the Channel 
Islands where he wrote Les Chdtiments in denunciation of Louis 
Napoleon and the disasters he brought on the French. The invective 
of both novelists was more than an exile's rancour ; it united 
indignation at the setback of their countries' tradition with austere 
pity for their prostration. 

In Mann's novels there is an aloofness from life which he has 
taken over semi-consciously from Goethe, an appraisal of struggles 
which even when they involve himself remain by some means at 
arm's length. But added to an earnest German sense of duty, 
his ex cathedra attitude gave him a special advantage. The 
exile suspected of personal bitterness loses his power to con- 
vince, and deriving so obviously from the tradition of German 
humanism, Mann could denounce Hitler with an historical authority 
unequalled by anyone except Winston Churchill. As his voice 
arrives at Station Beta after the Atlantic crossing by beam radio, 
it heaves slightly and sags ; but this adds to its natural dignity 
a touch of the oracular effect to which Delphi owed some of 
its influence. 

Two problems recur in Mann's broadcasts : the responsibility of 
the German people for prolonging the war, and their fate afterwards. 
These he links together. " Reflect," he said as the German armies 
invaded the Soviet Union, " reflect that the weapons for the enslave- 



THE WAR IN GERMAN 73 

ment of die world are the work of your hands, and that Hitler and 
his war cannot continue without your help. ' Stay your hands and 
help no more ! For the future it will be of enormous importance 
whether you Germans yourselves put away this man of terror, or 
whether it has to be done from outside. Only if you free yourselves, 
can you have the right to share in the approaching freedom of a new 
world order/* 

. Mann did not delude himself about the difficulty of the task he 
was here trying to achieve. " I know well," he said later, " that you 
in Germany after these eight deafening years are scarcely capable of 
thinking without National Socialism. But does it seem easier to 
visualize its perpetuation by the final victory in which it would have 
you believe ? Is it for eternity, this immeasurably corrupt, diseased 
and infamous regime, under which you live and fight ? Recall its 
origins, the means by which it seized office, the sadism with which it 
exercised power, the unlimited disruption it spread, the deeds of 
shame committed first in Germany and then as far as its war machine 
would reach. Look at the gallery of its representatives, at these 
Ribbentrops, Himmlers, Streichers, at Goebbels, his mouth gaping 
with lies, consider the evilly inspired Leader himself and his stout, 
vainglorious all-highest Reichsmarshal of the greater German super- 
imperial empire. What a menagerie ! This is to triumph and set its 
foot on the neck of the world ? This is the solution of the problem 
of our time, the problem between man and himself, the problem of 
humanity ? This is to decide the pattern of life for a thousand years ? 
Who can believe it ? It bears the stamp of a grotesque interlude 
sick, abnormal, fanatical a nightmare unpredicted by the stars, but 
a nightmare from which, praise be to God, there will and must be 
an awakening if Germany is to regain natural and unforced relations 
with the world and mankind. Germany, Awake ! With that cry you 
were once lured into the fatal opium-trance of National Socialism. 
He means better by you who cries today : ' Germany, Awake ! 
Awake to reality, to sound reason, to yourself and the world of 
freedom and justice awaiting you V 

Month by month through the early defeats Mann spoke with 
Olympian confidence. " I know," he conceded after Jugoslavia had 
fallen and the swastika flew over the Acropolis, " that it is hard for 
you to listen to me today. News of victories rain down on you as 
the fire-bombs of your monstrous rulers rain on London ; they 
inflame your spirits, at least those of the weak and foolish, they send 



74 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

your enthusiasm flaring up in spite of warnings/' He avoided 
military and strategic calculations ; his confidence was based on 
pure humanism. " Mankind will not submit, because it cannot. One 
may think of men as bitterly and scornfully as one likes, but in all 
their misery there is undeniably a spark of the divine which cannot 
be quenched. . . . The final victory of evil, brute force and untruth 
mankind cannot accept, because under this it simply could not 
live." 

The progress of the war justified him, so that it was possible at 
the beginning of 1942 to give extracts from his talks interspersed 
with a diary of events, from which he emerged as a realist as well as 
an austere and doudy prophet. His talks were repeated and used in 
nearly all programmes. Meanwhile the German Radio had been 
forced to turn from celebrating the glories of victory to almost 
hourly warnings of the consequences of defeat. Mann replied with 
brevity. " Those who seduced you into all these deeds of shame 
tell you : ' Now you are committed, now you are shackled to us 
inseparably, now you must hold out to the end, or hell itself will 
engulf you '. But hell engulfed you, Germans, when these leaders 
took you in their power. To hell with diem and all their 
accomplices, and you can yet have salvation, freedom and 
peace.' 1 

In April 1942 he was told that the R.A.F.'s devastating raids 
on his native town of Liibeck had destroyed the Buddenbrook 
House where his grandparents had lived and which had become 
famous in association with his novel Buddenbrooks. Mann com- 
mented from his fortress of tradition that although a great symbol 
might lie in ruins, " such ruins do not shock a mind which 
lives in sympathy with the future as well as with the past ". 
Warsaw, Rotterdam and Coventry had to be paid for, and 
Hitlcrism was responsible Hitlerism which had neither tradition 
nor future. 

Ranged behind Thomas Mann, denouncing Hitler and supporting 
the artistic, philosophical, even under the Napoleonic domination 
freedom-loving Germany, were the poets who had fallen into 
discredit or bowdlerization under the Third Reich. The lunch- 
time programmes gave extracts from Matthias Claudius, Morike, 
Freiligrath, from old editions of Holderlin as well as from Schiller 
and Goethe all of whom would have been with Mann in exile. 
The German Radio fervently denied this. Goethe, it declared in 



THE WAR IN GERMAN 75 

1940, would have been piloting a Stuka. But Germany, said the 
poets, had phases of anti-militarism which belied the simple 
National Socialist version of the past; and these voices from 
a different mood gave the cultural programmes an authority 
which was difficult to achieve before war aims were announced. 
At the grotesque Weimar Book Congress of 1941 held " under 
the sign of Book and Sword "they were denounced as devilish 
quotations from scripture. 

Since culture in England is not yet regarded as a target for 
revolver practice, it was possible for a year when the brute facts 
of the war made a poor talking point, to flavour ten minutes or a 
quarter of an hour of German transmission with it every other day. 
These lunch-time broadcasts were intended for the big German 
civil servant class and the higher officials who would be at home at 
that time. They were the type of people who most readily listened in. 
Their standards were rooted in the past and they could be relied on 
to welcome a type of appeal which denounced the ideal of the 
gangster-state to which Hitler was tending steadily more. The 
flourishing of English science and art in spite of the war was 
emphasized; Julian Huxley and A. V, Hill, the secretary of 
the Royal Society, spoke; university professors and lawyers 
insisted on the objective standards by which their professions 
were still ruled ; members of Parliament, extending from Vernon 
Bartlett to Kenneth Pickthorn, reported debates in their best 
German. For most of these scripts the press would have 
paid high prices, and occasionally facts of historical interest 
came out. Ivone Kirkpatrick, for instance, who went with 
Chamberlain to Munich three years before he greeted Hess in 
Yorkshire, gave some reliable details of Hitler at the climax of the 
appeasement era. 

At the morning session of the conference, Hitler controlled 
himself. His manner was courteous and his behaviour was normal. 
His first sign of temper was at the lunch interval. The delegation 
left the Fiihrerbau for their various hotels. Hitler accompanied 
Mussolini. I can see him now, walking along the gallery on the first 
floor of the Fiihrerbau. He is talking very fast to Mussolini. The 
Duce's face is impassive, but Hitler's is black as thunder and he 
is emphasizing his remarks with short angry movements of his 
hands. 

The second sign of temper was after lunch. The delegation is 
assembling. Chamberlain and Daladier are deep in conversation. 



7 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

Hitler arrives. He cannot wait until the conversation is over. After 
tftflfeiftg gestures of impatience for some moments 3 his patience is 
exhausted Angrily he sends Ribbentrop to summon the two states- 
men to the table. 

As die day wears on into night, Hitler's irritation increases. In 
the closing stages Goring and other Nazi leaders come into the room. 
Gdring is the centre of a conversation and there is some laughter. 
It is an atmosphere of relaxed tension. The danger of war has 
been averted. But Hitler sits moodily apart. He wriggles on 
the sofa, he crosses and uncrosses his legs, he folds his arms 
and glares round the room. At intervals with obvious effort 
he joins in a conversation only to relapse into silence. At last 
the agreement is ready for signature. The four statesmen sign. 
Three look satisfied that they have done the right thing. But 
Hitler scratches his signature as if he were being asked to sign 
away his birthright. 

Hofimann was unable to produce a photograph from which the 
signs of anger were wholly absent from Hitler's face. 

Now why was Hitler angry ? He had received all he wanted 
without war. For years he had complained that negotiations led to 
nothing. Now he had successfully negotiated the full satisfaction of 
his demands. He had surrendered nothing, absolutely nothing. So 
why was he angry ? 

I was given the answer by Germans in Hitler's entourage. He 
was angry because he had wanted to settle the Czech question by 
himself in his own way. He was angry because circumstances had 
compelled him to negotiate. " This," he shouted, " is my first confer- 
ence and it will be my last." He abused Chamberlain. He called 
Goring and the Generals cowards. In future, he declared, he would 
not talk, but act. 

In September 1939 Hitler remembered Munich. This time he 
would not repeat his mistake. The Poles must come to Berlin to 
receive a Diktat. He would not be lured into negotiation again. He 
would act. So Hitler invaded Poland. 

Before Hitler opened his attack on civil servants in the spring 
of 1942 there was a view that even if the class of middle-aged listeners 
starved of objective information and civilized living was big, it was 
politically without importance. The same was occasionally said of 
the German women. But a moments thought on the influence they 
wielded in writing letters to the front should have been enough to 
atone for a depressed view of their rioting prospects. For a quarter 
of an hour every day their special tastes were catered for* Food 
and clothing shortages were dealt with ; casualties were stressed ; 
damage to family life, to education and health were traced to 



THE WAR IN GERMAN 77 

their inevitable source. Monday in Germany is washing day, 
which had long been a misery owing to the kind of lather produced 
by chalk-substitute soap. On Monday there would perhaps be a 
talk pointing out that Hitler had been sold to them as the greatest 
Leader of all time, but he could not supply his subjects with a cake of 
soap why not ? Because of something they were not allowed to 
hear about : the British blockade. 

It was in the women's programme that Frau Wernicke spoke 
first every week. Married at present to a small employee, this 
imaginary character was formerly the wife of a political fighter 
murdered by the Nazis several years before the war. Week in week 
out she gossips in the rich Berlin slang, which cannot, unfortunately, 
be translated. At the ersatz coffee party in her gute Stube, in 
markets, air-raid shelters, shops and buses, she jabbers on a range 
of subjects as monotonous and inexhaustible as the reality of war- 
time Germany. None of her words is without its propaganda 
implication, no phrase lacks its subversive aim. At one time she 
was imprisoned by the Gestapo, and went off the air. Released on 
the understanding that she should speak only good of the regime, 
she has ever since been ostensibly a Nazi propagandist, but from 
density or cunning, she manages to enhance the existing discontent 
by developing National Socialist arguments to absurdity. The 
spirit of her strident slang derives from German poetry as well as 
from the Berlin working class. Reports from as far south as Vienna 
emphasized her popularity, and at the end of 1941 the German 
Radio invented an answer for it? home audience. It consisted of a 
naive dialogue between a Frau Schnick and a Herr Schnack. Frau 
Schnick was the embodiment of crude, mean self-interest. She 
would complain, for instance, that a waiter was rude to her when she 
ordered a simple meal of meat, fish, poultry, cheese and plenty of 
butter to be followed by bicarbonate of soda and two headache 
tablets. This was above the general level of her jokes, and the extent 
to which she failed as an answer to Frau Wenricke could be judged 
from the tepid amusement of the studio-audience. 1 

Straightforward and detailed exposures of the Party's handling of 
ordinary people were one of the most effective < 
sendung. " Party member Fenner," a 

1 The loudest laugh I heard was in January 
had asked for " Italian salad " in a resta 
" crossed off". 




J* VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

1941 to the woman supervisor of a rationing office, " you denounced 
the Neumanns of No. 3 Charlottenburgerstrasse. 

"The Neumanns have six children. But that didn't stop you from 
having their father brought up at the Moabit Court. You got what 
you wanted -he has been condemned. 

" All Berlin shall know your name : 

" PARTY MEMBER FENNER ! Supervisor of the Ration-Card Offices 
in Berlin Weissensee ! All Berlin shall know you as an informer ! 

" Why did you denounce the Neumanns ? 

" Frau Neumann from the Charlottenburgerstrasse came modestly 
enough to you at the Rationing Office. She needed warm coats for 
herself and two of her six children. Those children had not enough 
to eat. Frau Neumann asked for three ration cards. You, Frau 
Fenner, flatly refused to give tnem to her. Three winter coats for a 
family 6f eight that seemed too many to you. 

" Frau Neumann asked again, she pressed you winter is coming. 
She wanted to give up three old coats for the new ones two at once, 
and the third when the new ones were bought. She couldn't do 
without it before that. 

" But you, Frau Fenner, Supervisor of the Rationing Office, you 
refused. 

" Then Frau Neumann dared to invoke the words of the Leader. 
He, after all, had demanded of German women that they should 
produce many children. Was it not also his will that these children 
should be clothed ? 

" That was the question asked by Frau Neumann, mother of six 
children. 

" But you, Party Member Fenner, you did not like to be reminded 
of the Leader's words so inappropriately. After all, any and every 
German mother might come running to the Ration Office asking for 
warm coats for their children. 

" Therefore you flatly refused to issue the coupons. But that 
didn't satisfy you. Frau Neumann had taken the Leader's name in 
vain. She was therefore admittedly a malcontent. So her name 
and the text of her remarks had to be entered on your Black List, 
which you, Party Member Fenner, send up to the authorities above 
you. 

" Frau Neumann was alarmed when she realized this, and she 
called in her husband The result was a charge brought in front of 
die Moabit Court. Herr Neumann was condemned for malicious 
slander, because he had called the Black Lists ' wrong *. 

" The Moabit Court declared in its findings : ' The drawing up 
of Black Lists is perfectly lawful. Officials in the Ration Offices are 
in duty bound to note down the names and remarks of all malcontents 
so that public opinion can be checked. 9 You, Frau Fennfer, were thus 



THE WAR IN GERMAN 79 

vindicated by National Socialist justice: your Black List is not 
* wrong'. In the offices of the Third Reich denunciation is an official 
virtue. And you, Frau Fenner, are the kind of person who goes in 
for denunciation. Your name shall be forgotten neither in Berlin nor 
the Reich. When anyone enters a government office, he shall have 
you in mind. For in every office of the Third Reich your kind is 
sitting compiling its lists. 

" But don't forget one thing, Frau Fenner. These Blade Lists 
of the dissatisfied get steadily longer. Party members of your type 
have more and more to write about ; until yes, until the day comes 
when the poison pens are struck from your hands." 

By the time the four o'clock programme came on the air it was 
considered necessary to make " concessions " to the audience, which 
could only consist of the minority who worked at home all day. 
Under the tide Aus der Freien Welt, two more important lacks in the 
Third Reich were supplied, both musical : jazz of the chemically 
pure kind for which the German Radio substituted " schwungvoll " 
music, and classics played by great German composers who l^d 
left the country. Bruno Walter and Lotte Lehmann, although in 
America, introduced records of their performances with comments 
which must have surprised the listener who thought he had heard 
them playing from the Rundfunkhaus in Berlin. Interspersed 
among the music were bursts of news and talks repeated from other 
programmes. But it is doubtful how far the effect was that of a 
sugar coating ; warnings in the German press soon showed that it 
was being used as a heaven-sent excuse by radio criminals who could 
protest that they were listening in innocence to their native composers. 
Prosecuting counsel might well have replied that they would have 
fared better elsewhere on the tuning dial, for the jammers were 
attentive to Aus der Freien Welt, and music survives jamming less 
successfully than speech. 



ARMY, NAVY AND WORKERS 

The Forces Programme which followed early in the evening 
began on New Year's Day 1941 with a set of problems to solve 
which demanded the utmost skill from its organizers. The young, 
the magnificently victorious, the inspired disciples of Hitler, were 
to be its audience. It was not so much a problem of listener 



$o VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

resistance as of listener absence. Other programmes might put out 
military songs which went with a mournful swing 

War fahren immer Kn und her> 
Wir haben Heine Heimat mekr, 1 

but the lips from which an echo might be heard in Europe were 
less likely to be those of the Wehrmacht than of the armies it had 
scattered. As in the previous war, a change was to come in die 
songs sung by the German soldier ; his taste for the brisk anthems 
of hatred with Blitzkrieg implications would give way in the second 
and third years to nostalgic themes more appropriate to a war of 
duration. But on January i, 1941 ? 

News, as always, was the most attractive bait. Any reader 
of the German press could with a little ingenuity have surprised 
the man at the front by his omniscience. If Oberst Windisch, 
hero of Narvik and holder of the Maria Theresa Order in the last 
wr, had been passed over for promotion in this, might it not be 
that Austrians were being studiously neglected ? If Major von 
Arnim of Berlin W.is, Duisburgerstrasse 8, advertised every 
month in the Berliner Borsenzeitung for a new housemaid, might 
that not suggest indecent conclusions to the major's trusted 
lieutenants ? But the Forces Programme had more fertile sources 
of information, and was in a position to tell its listeners a surprising 
amount of what they did and did not want to hear. 

One subject which could be relied on to interest the German 
soldier almost as much as his personal fate, was that of his wife and 
children. In this sense the natural interests of the Frauensendung 
and the Forces Programme were opposite ; the women wanted to 
hear what was happening to their husbands, and the husbands what 
was happening to their women. Later we shall find the French 
" traitor of Stuttgart ", who was attached to the German Radio in 
the capacity of Ferdonnet, exploiting sexual anxieties with the 
enthusiasm of a schoolmaster ; but the German soldier had other 
fears. How did his wife and home-town survive the air-raids? 
Why these constant complaints from home about food and money ? 
They worried Dr. Goebbels at least as much as their recipients. He 
knew the damage done by letters to the Front in the last war, and 

1 Marckuig always to and, fro, 
We're homekss now for good. 

Tfce word* ime ***& chalked up on :* troop-ttiin in the Polhh campaign. 



|f 

not only issued warnings & general terms, but cut off the outgoing 
Fddpost from a whole district like Bremen after a heavy raid. The 
fetters presented to the B.B.C. by his expositions of what not 
to write, may have seemed unexciting to the casual reader. " I 
had to pay up two months' arrears from 1937 into the Arbeitsfront 
for you/' wrote a woman from Bremen before the existence of 
thousand bomber raids. " I suppose you forgot Now they 
want me to pay 60 Pf. for every month you've been away. 
One has to count every Pfennig now. There's Health Insurance, 
Winterhilfa etc. etc. It all goes on." But mild as such a letter 
may sound, it could not have been better calculated by a British 
propagandist to undermine the fighting spirit of the man at the 
Front, 

While many subjects of this kind were of interest to one audience 
rather than its opposite at home, there were other themes that were 
attacked in all programmes. Casualties and names of prisoners were 
of quite special value because of the German refusal to publish lists 
of names which would have contradicted the official juggling with 
figures. The poor prospect of getting jobs after the war interested 
women and workers as much as the Wehrmacht. The report of a 
Spanish captain, who came upon the wreck of a convoy of reinforce- 
ments for Rommel, went out- in the Women's Programme. M At 
first/ 9 he said, " we saw rafts with no one on them. 

They were merely littered with provisions. But then suddenly 
the sea around us was filled with corpses and we found ourselves in 
a complete cemetery of ships. The water was shallow and the boats 
stuck out of the water like macabre rocks. There were two destroyers 
and six cargo ships, all of them piled with corpses. The smell was 
ghastly. We boarded one of the burnt-out destroyers which looked 
as though it had been chewed up by some giant. Everywhere there 
were corpses riddled by splinters and bullets. When we boarded 
one of the cargo ships we found that it bad contained only Germans. 
The dead belonged to the Tank Corps and the Luftwaffe. They were 
all newly and smartly equipped. All round them lay planes, petrol, 
spare parts, machine guns, trucks, motor-cycles and tanks. 1 ' 

Ultimately the aim of all wartime propaganda is operational, 
but this is more obviously true when the audience is the enemy's 
armed forces than when it consists mainly of the home public. If 
the purpose of the themes I have mentioned seems obscure, it 
becomes dearer in direct attacks on morale. A talk on the letter 
6 



82 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

V first went out in general programmes in the German service 
in May 1941* 

The letter V. Just a single letter^ but with a wealth of meaning. 
A letter that German soldiers all over Europe are every day getting 
to know better and better. Drawn with a finger in the dust on the 
back of an army lorry. Chalked on the door of a billet or company 
office. Daubed in tar or on a tree or wall by the roadside. Cut with 
a knife on a Wehrmacht poster. You do not have to look very far 
for this letter V. In the streets of Trondheim and Brussels, along the 
Flanders roads, in Polish farms, on army vehicles all over occupied 
Europe. Written by unseen hands, hands that one day will hold 
something more dangerous than a pencil or a paint-brush. Thefingef 
that writes V in the dust will know again the sweet smooth squeeze 
of a trigger. The letter V. Symbol of defiance. Symbol of hate. 
Above all, symbol of final victory. 

But morale is not always best attacked directly, particularly not by 
means of radio, which can be switched off. The most effective of the 
early undermining work against the German armies of occupation 
was carried out by the European service in other languages. Dt-mo- 
ra-li-sez-ks-Alle-mands I ran, up and down the scale, the French 
slogan which summed up the V campaign. 

The Forces Programme in the early years of war was the first 
model of fast-moving production. Technique was often called upon 
in the radio war to atone for the difficulties of the situation, but the 
German service of the B.B.C. had not previously made full use of it. 
Contents were cut to the bone and the information was reliable and 
closely packed. Once a soldier had discovered it, there was every 
temptation for him to keep on listening in spite of himself. He was 
given a second chance at two in the morning, when a night edition 
was given in the same style but with later news. 

A woman who escaped from France in 1942 told me she had often 
taken groups of German soldiers down to the cellars of a chateau in 
Brittany where they listened to this programme in the early hours. 
In Croatia and in an Italian village square other witnesses saw 
them listening in public. In December 1942, according to the 
Norwegian Government, all radio sets were confiscated from German 
troops in Norway up to the rank of Cap tain. They had been listening 
regularly to London. 

Tile Naval Programme, launched in November 1941 to the strains 
of " Rufe Britannia ", had as its potential audience all ranks of the 



THE WAR IN GERMAN 83 

German Navy and Merchant Marine and their friends and relations 
at home. This target the population of the Wasserkante and the 
comparatively few German ships at sea- was smaller than that aimed 
at by any other programme ; but in the first world war the Kiel 
Mutiny had proved it to be one of the softest spots, and its experiences 
in the air-raids and sea-battles of the second world war were not 
happier. For long periods of the war it was primarily the Navy 
which engaged the enemy, and of the first-hand information about 
Germans which reached the B.B.C. a large proportion flowed through 
the Admiralty. Absorbing as first-hand stories always are, this 
material also implied the overwhelming strength of British sea-power 
against which die inexperienced German crews and officers were 
unfairly pitted. In other programmes a story was told of Kretschmer, 
the famous U-boat commander who decided to scuttle his craft when 
he was forced to the surface by the fire of British destroyers. The 
man who had to scuttle her died below, and Kretschmer was rescued 
with some of his men. In his prison camp Kretschmer behaved 
intolerantly. 

" About three weeks ago (at the end of October 1941) two new- 
comers arrived at the camp the commander of the 11.570, Rahmlow, 
and the commander of the 11.501, Forster. The camp commandant 
introduced the two to Kretschmer in the usual Way. Kretschmer 
refused to shake hands. 

" Kretschmer demanded that the two commanders should be 
placed apart in different rooms. This demand was refused as no 
reason was given. Kretschmer and some of his officers told the two 
U-boat commanders that they would have to go before a Court of 
Honour. But some of the other officers in die same camp took 
another point of view, and the Court of Honour was never held. In 
any case the British authorities would not have allowed it. But the 
question whether Kretschmer was right or wrong was naturally dis- 
cussed all over the camp. The officers split into two groups : those 
who sided with Kretschmer and agreed that Rahmlow should have 
scuttled the 11.570 and sent his men to a needless death, and those who 
supported Rahmlow and said he had no other choice than to give up 
the fight. Rahmlow's friends said that Kretschmer himself had no 
experience of bombing from the air in a badly damaged U-boat or of 
being surrounded by ships of the Atlantic patrol at night with guns 
concentrated on the conning tower. They said further : Kretschmer 
had sent his own men to die while he .was saved, and therefore he had 
no right to call Rahmlow a coward. If Rahmlow had attempted 
to scuttle his boat at once not a man of the 11.570 would have 
escaped. 



84 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

" The dispute became so heated that the British authorities 
decided to separate the conflicting parties. Kretschmer and his men 
remained in the camp, while Rahmtow, Forster, and their supporters 
were taken to another camp." 

An F r nglighmgn might find this story merely interesting, but the 
German Radio had taught its listeners to think of the U-boats as 
lords of the sea whose victims totalled roughly a million gross tons 
a month while they themselves prowled on with trivial losses not 
worth announcing. In English prison camps, the German listener 
now discovered, survivors by the hundred spent their time arguing 
whether it was better to surrender to superior forces or to be sunk. 
The Workers' Programme goes out twice weekly at 8.15 p.m. It 
is spoken chiefly by Patrick Gordon Walker and two German Socialists 
whose blunt style suits the subject matter. The predominant themes 
of this programme are simple and unvarying. First it stresses 
the vigour and independence of free workers' organizations and their 
complete devotion to victory. It gives a faithful picture of English 
workers and their Labour Movement, and it sticks to this whatever 
is happening in the outside world. A weaver, for instance, was 
speaking with a strange Yorkshire accent about himself and his 
surroundings a few weeks after the attack on the Soviet Union began. 

" We work in cotton mills where the noise of machinery is so 
deafening that we cannot hear each other speak unless we shout into 
each other's ears, and so we have learned to talk across the looms by 
reading each other's lips. In the dusty light amid the forest of belting, 
we wave our shuttles to and fro to each other to attract attention, and 
then we discuss the news. 

" I have learnt your language painstakingly, writing my translations 
in the china-clay dust on my loom-frames, and so I am able to listen 
in to your German broadcasts. You are being misled as far as we 
British working people are concerned. We are solid and united behind 
Churchill and his Government. He expresses our will. Facts speak 
louder than words, and here is a fact that shows what I mean. In 
every English town, War Weapons Weeks have been held. The record 
is held by the town of Hedonondwike, with the sum of 42, 8s. 5d. 
per head. Heckmondwike is a town of blanket-weavers. ..." 

About the same time I watched Gordon Walker recording a lodge 
meeting in a Durham mining village to form part of a sound picture 
of the village life which had been freely but highly organized by the 
miners themselves. No pretence is made that England is Socialist, 
but it is projected as a democracy with a strong and steadily growing 



THE WAR IN GERMAN 85 

Labour Movement. Embarrassment is only audible when certain 
problems of imperial administration are discussed. " No Socialist 
can support an imperialist policy/* said Professor Laski* " and no 
Socialist, therefore, but must be critical of things in the British 
Empire that retain the character of imperialist habits. 

" But the history of the British Empire to any Socialist who is 
realistically minded is the history, first, of a slow but sure recognition 
of the right of the white races to self-government, and, second, of an 
ever-deepening conscience of our obligations to the coloured races 
of the Empire. . . . 

"I think we should go forward much more rapidly to self- 
government in India. I think the copper mines of Northern Rhodesia 
should be a government run for the benefit of the natives there. I do 
not think there should be special reserves for white settlers in the 
highlands of Kenya." 

But observe, as Professor Laski went on, that " we in Britain are 
free to say these things and to work for these things ". No reply to 
the sterile uniformity of the German radio could be as convincing 
as statements that proved the reality of freedom at the German 
microphone of the B.B.C. 

News was also given of international, Russian and continental 
workers, of the leading part played by the latter in the resistance of 
the occupied territories to the " New Order ". Among continental 
socialists and trade unionists who spoke were Rabache, Paolo Treves, 
Kalina, Adamczyk and others. Messages were often given from the 
English Labour leaders, Attlee, Bevin, George Gibson, Sir Walter 
Citrine and James Griffiths. 

Destructive criticism centred on the exposure of National 
Socialism as a sham Socialism. As in the Forces Programme, appeals 
to revolt were avoided, but a tacit sympathy was implied between 
English and German workers, and it was suggested that the German 
workers had an ultimate interest in the victory of the Allies. National 
Socialism was shown as a more ferocious form of the familiar German 
militarism, resting on the same social forces which themselves had 
always hated and secretly feared the organized 
It followed that not only the destruction of, 
necessary, but the uprooting of the 

By comparison with the early pro 
the Workers' Programme of the B.B. 
atmosphere of the Communist Maoifes 




86 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

speech by Sir Walter Citrine, The impressive romance of class 
warfare was replaced by an objectivity and caution descended from 
generations erf* bargaining with employers for the best conditions to 
be extracted over conference tables. The common international 
interests of the workers were stated not quite so loudly as the im- 
provements that the English worker had been able to make in his 
own garden. In other words, the German worker who listened to 
London heard something peculiarly English. It may have struck 
him as insular, but the counterpart of that was its obvious honesty. 

There were other special programmes for peasants and 
Austrians, for Catholics and Protestants but I lack the space for a 
detailed account of them. There were, indeed, rather many. The 
Peasants 9 was, in my opinion, considerably the most effective, and 
the Austrian, although the most important, because it should have 
had the biggest and most sympathetic German-speaking audience, 
seemed for a long time the weakest. 

By the summer of 1942 when German transmission time was 
reduced, three of these programmes, the Peasants*, the Civil Servants* 
and the Variety Programme Aus der Freien Welt> had been taken off 
the air to make room for further news. The overwhelming demand 
for news in Germany became even more obvious when the Allies 
took the initiative, and some of the best features of the vanished pro- 
grammes were salvaged and spread more evenly through the output. 
This decision was obviously a wise one. 



COMMENTS AND COMMENTATORS 

Unlike die telephone, radio cannot guarantee that a message will 
reach the person for whom it is intended. P. P. Eckersley may be 
right in seeing this as a disaster to be overcome by the development 
of wired wireless, but if that system had covered Europe during the 
war the uses of Station Beta would have been eliminated. In 
Switzerland, where it did exist on a considerable scale, there was an 
outcry against the officially controlled isolation. 1 But Germany and 

1 Wired wireless was imposed as a protective device against Moscow and the 
B.B.C. in the Bessarabian village, Straseni. " Henceforth/' said the Roumanian 
paper Curentul, " the thread of information is severed, and the villagers will be 
able to listen only to the voice of truth." This was in October 1942. 



THE WAR IN GERMAN 87 

the rest of Europe were peopled by radio eavesdroppers, who 
believed they were more likely to hear die truth, or at any rate a more 
illuminating kind of lie, in any language but their own. Nor was there 
any evidence that within a given language listeners heard the pro* 
grammes intended for them. The audiences of the Catholic, Forces 
and Civil Servants' programmes were quite probably saboteurs, 
women and Gestapo agents. A doctor who listened to them all in 
Norway did so because he liked the way they were so carefully 
tailored. That, indeed, was their justification, for the slightly different 
emphasis given to their subject-matter repelled no one, while the 
well-calculated time of day at which they went out may have 
assembled a minority at least of the class of listener to whom they 
were addressed. 

But just as a newspaper keeps its financial and literary features off 
the front page, so the peak listening hours of the evening were cleared 
for general news and commentaries. These emerge unfairly from 
summary; their interest depended to a large extent on their 
topicality, and all we can do at this distance is to summarize the 
personalities and some of the arguments of the commentators. . 

The most sober and English-sounding was Lindley Fraser, a 
don from a northern University, who scored marks for a ftindamental 
propagandist virtue the ability to convince listeners of his honesty. 
The most talented was Sefton Delmer, formerly a foreign corre- 
spondent of the Daily Express, who was the only one of the group 
whose German was obviously composed in. the original. Whether 
countering the counter-propaganda of Fritzsche or performing his 
own spontaneous acrobatics in the interstices of the propaganda- 
war, Delmer could be relied on to astonish and delight a wide 
circle of admirers. Most versatile was R. H. S. Grossman, who 
could put himself into the position of high Nazi officials as 
effectively as if he had just returned from Berchtesgaden or the 
Wilhelmstrasse and could drive home every conceivable argument in 
support of the Allied cause with an emphatic battering attack of his 
own. There were others, H. Carleton Greene of the Daily Telegraph 
and Henry English who used to contribute to the book page of the 
News Chronicle. Many of them spoke regularly in a kind of German 
Brains Trust, Was Wollen Sie Wissen ? But although every speaker 
in this group had his special virtues, none individually seemed to 
make the impact on the German audience that Ferdonnet once made 
on the French or Colonel Stevens on the Italian. This may have 



88 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

been because of the distrust of the audience, or it may simply be a 
impression from insufficient evidence. 



Surprisingly enough there was plenty of evidence of the popularity 
of isolated performances. Nearly always the most appreciated were 
humorous: Frau Wermche and Gefreiter Hirnschal, a gloomy, 
lovable ignoramus of a soldier eternally writing letters to his wife 
and reading them aloud to his friend Jaschke ; a weekly dialogue 
between Willi, an official of the Propaganda Ministry, and his naive 
friend Kurt ; or impersonations of Hitler by a mimic so expert that 
he should have been able to penetrate with Grossman the innermost 
recesses of the Rdchskanzlei. Good use, too, was made of Hitler's 
own voice, recorded and stored away in some forty speeches which 
were ready to rise up and bear witness against him at any moment. 
They were perhaps best exploited by a commentator speaking in the 
tones of a Punch and Judy showman who explained that he had two 
different voices in the studio with him, one on his left, and one on his 
right. A battle followed between two quite genuine sets of extracts 
Hitler assuring his people in the autumn of 1941 that the Soviet 
Union " is already destroyed and can never rise again ", and then 
another Hitler at the turn of the year explaining how the German 
" musketeer " would have to get straight on with the job of destroying 
the Soviet Union as soon as the ice melted. By the end the two voices 
would get out of control, rising up independently and shouting each 
other down in ecstasies of rage and excitement. 

To summarize in a few sentences the barest outline of what the 
B.B.C. was saying to Germany as the war finally took shape, one 
might reduce die news and talks to a combined attack in three related 
parts. First came the cold facts of the war of the armed forces, 
which might be good or bad, but tended to become steadily and 
overwhelmingly better. This occupied the bulk of the news; 
and underneath it, of greater long-run significance but of less 
immediate interest to the listener, came the battle of produc- 
tion in which final victory was certain. Here, for instance, it 
was important to point out incessantly to the German audience 
just what was implied by the man-power problem which had induced 
Hitler to wring from the flesh and blood of the country an effort 
which was in the last resort impossible. It was impossible because 
ninety million Germans were pitted against many hundred millions 
of die Allies, and when time had brought out the contrast between 
these sets of forces, Germany must collapse. But and this was the 



THE WAR IN GERMAN 89 

third and positive part of the approach -it was dangerous folly to 
wait until all this happened, because Britain and her Allies firmly 
intended to see that the world, including a totally disarmed Germany, 
should emerge from this struggle into conditions which were more 
stable than those of the past and which allowed for a development 
in the concepts of freedom and responsibility. 



THE RADIO MAP 

BEFORE listening to the multi-lingual babel suspended in the ether 
for the benefit of the non-German listener, we need, here too, to 
glance at the organizations which produced it. Ideally one would 
like to leave them to a map-drawer, but not even that master-hand 
who manages to reveal the human body in coloured layers of muscle, 
bone and digestive organ, could encompass the whole of this tangle. 
Disguise on a large scale became the passion of propagandists. 
England was cautious in the matter, suspecting reasonably enough 
that rough winds could blow wigs awry and that the best greasepaint 
tended in the long run to look like greasepaint. But in the wardrobes 
of Dr. Goebbels, of the German Foreign Office and the High Com- 
mand, there were some hundreds of audible disguises, not simply 
swaggering Uhlans and neo-Wagnerite economists, but peasant 
outfits for Alsace and Lorraine, Ukrainian dummies, whiskered 
Trotskyite costumes and the masks of fierce young Egyptian 
patriots. 

Our business is with Europe, but first let us waste a moment on 
the world outside. We have noticed how a certain carelessness 
invaded the German stage. It was as if the Siegfried of a repertory 
company came on while still adjusting his costume and scowled : 
All right, I admit it's just your Uncle Josef Wotan last week and 
Parsifal from Friday next, but you can lump it, because there's no 
alternative but Winston Churchill. 

A quite different kind of carelessness surrounded the services 
for countries outside Europe. It was a calculated disarray with the 
simple, rather touching appeal of Chesterton's Father Brown. The 
make-up was careful. If we revert to the mad scientist metaphor, 
this propaganda was the gas released in the laboratory for the benefit 
of the microbes straying wilfully outside the German and European 
bell-jars. There was something a little sickly about it. An announcer, 
nicknamed by his colleagues Harmonika Walther, used to play on 
his mouth-organ to fill gaps in the programme with a warm human 
atmosphere. Another told jolly anecdotes about his son ; a third, 
whose talk was being recorded from transmission, apologized for 
making a slip and warned the engineers to start the record again. 

91 



92 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

Through the panes of glass separating the Overseas Service studios 
the good-humoured propagandists used to wave to one another. 
* The windows which were broken by a bomb in 1941, gave on to the 
street, and the Sound of sirens in Berlin or the barking of a dog 
drifted in if they were left open. 

Talks often had so spontaneous an air that it was difficult to 
think of them as scripts. Within limits the announcer could 
word the opening and dosing phrases of the bulletins as he liked ; 
he seemed to choose the news items he liked best. The Fascist 
poet Ezra Pound was allowed to remain a Vorticist of the 'twenties 
as his domineering tones were transmitted from Rome to North 
America. 

" I read that Scrutus Erigina said as how sin is a lapse from 
reality. That is a high and fine idea. Oh shucks ! You give up 
flirting with strangulation and starvation policies. They are natural 
currents of trade and commerce. They run between countries who 
produce certain materials abundantly and countries that do not. You 
cannot cover that up with a few billion sheets of newsprint." 

On the first day of the Allied landings in North Africa, Pound 
was above noticing the news. " England is the tail of a dog intel- 
lectualleh," he insisted, " the dumping ground of Jews and anything 
going." He had begun to sound seriously mad, and it seemed 
rather indecent to listen to him. 

Eccentricities were well liked in the short-wave station of Zeesen. 
They were a convincing means of suggesting the Third Reich's 
respect for the freedom of culture. Religion, too, was respected 
and deepened, as Roosevelt accused Hitler of blasphemy, into 
reverence. Most picturesque of the speakers in this genre was Jane 
Anderson de Cienfuegoa, which may well have been her real name. 
In Sta. Jane reversion to the Middle Ages had reached a remarkable 
almost stained-glass intensity. " Scarlet and red and crimson and 
ruby and idolatrous garnet were the colours which had conquered 
the immaculate citadel of the Catholic Kings," was her description 
of the Republican hold on Madrid in the Civil War. But her Irish 
" r "s, mingled with American and Spanish intonations, were to be 
heard at their most surprising when she was given a more modern 
theme. 

" For the brotherhood of the world, where all is purity and truth 
and mercy, and the milk of human kindness flows unqucnched and 



THE RADIO MAP 93 

deathless under the pulvcrous light of the solitary star, held aloft in 
the heavens by the blood-streaming hand of Stalin, deflating in the 
firmament the crucified Saviour of humanity, Whose immaculate' 
Image the Soviets would annihilate for the eternity of eternities from 
the heart of man." l 

How far the outside world might have succumbed to these alter- 
nately passionate and carefree approaches is a remote question. 
The populations outside Europe had rival sources of informa- 
tion ; they heard louder voices and saw repugnant caricatures of 
Goebbds in the newspapers. The battle only becomes of interest 
again when we consider the second bell-jar where a hundred 
million European microbes were submitted to a much more intensive 
course of treatment. 

In Europe Hitler lacked the exclusive authority he had in 
Germany. He had the geographical advantage of being in the centre 
of the continent, but this did not count for much as long as he was 
opposed in each of the surrounding countries by independent trans- 
mitters. He had also to deal with populations who had undergone 
little of the preparatory treatment carried out in the Third Reich, 
and their history and descent were unpromisingly diverse. The first 
obstacle was overcome by military conquest, which gave Hitler the 
Majority of the transmitters, and the second he approached with 
tactics of ingenious subtlety. 

The ideal, realized turn by turn in successive languages, was to 
speak in three quite different voices. First came the open broadcasts 
of the Europasender expressing brotherly solicitude or, as the invasion 
took place, scorn and hatred which were truly frightening. Then, a 
few months before the invasion, the Europasender was joined on 
quite different wavelengths by a group of " freedom stations ". 
Run ostensibly by opposition groups of the country about to be 
attacked, these were less interested in Germany than the crimes of 
their native governments. Once the invasion had begun, interest 
was sharply focussed on peace and the salvation of property and 
historical cities. When the war was lost, they closed down with a 
sigh of satisfaction, and were succeeded by the third group the 
native broadcasting system now in the hands of the German 
Army. 

1 Neither of these quotations is in translation. For a long time Jane Anderson 
dc Cienfuegoa broadcast twice a week in English and twice in Spanish, but in 2942 
she disappeared. 



94 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

Hie organization of this machinery was less systematic than that 
of the German home radio; it evolved piece by piece. At first a mere 
subdivision of the Reichsrundfunkgesettscfutft, its growing ramifica- 
tions were seized on by diplomats, propagandists and the High 
Command, leaving the German Radio itself with responsibility for 
nothing but the transmission and translation of a tiny fraction. 

At the head of all foreign broadcasts inside the German Radio 
was the Short-Wave Intendant who got his directives straight frcta 
the Propaganda Ministry. He was responsible for programmes 
of a more elaborate kind than were sent out to Europe, and under- 
neath him but by no means wholly in his control was an important 
Regional Intelligence Service. The Intendant of the Europasender 
worked to his directives, but the independence of this official was 
restricted by the control of the Regional Intelligence Service and by 
the ready-made character of the news he put out. News bulletins 
were compiled outside the German Radio's orbit by the Drahtlose 
Dienst, a sort of central copy-tasting and editorial unit under the 
Press Department of the Propaganda Ministry, while the Regional 
Intelligence Service had significant powers of its own. Although 
its officers were attached to the German Radio, and their word 
seems to have been law to the programme officials, their outside 
activities ranged from espionage to the compilation o venomous 
pamphlets for distribution abroad. They enjoyed powerful support 
from the Nazi Party through the Foreign Affairs and Propaganda 
Departments, and the majority combined their position in the 
German Radio with others under Goebbels and Rosenberg or in 
disruptive organizations like the Fichtebund or the League for the 
Promotion of German Culture Abroad. The findings of the 
American Dies Committee confirmed the existence of these entangle- 
ments, revealing, for instance, the part played by the Radio's 
Intelligence Service in fomenting " un-American activities " t 

With little left but responsibility for translation, it may well 
have been embitterment which made the Intendant of the Europa- 
sender invest his switch censors with semi-military powers over the 
translators. The prostration of the latter was audible in their slavish 
adherence to the original German text. 

With the radio networks inside the occupied territories the 
German Radio had no direct contact at all. An engineer from one 
occupied country reported that by 1942 all programmes in Hitler's 
Europe went by landline to the Rundfunkhaus in Berlin and back 



THE RADIO MAP 95 

to the transmitters for broadcasting. But if the resultant master* 
switchboard was a reality, it would not have been a plaything for 
the Intendant of the Evropasender. At the controls would hive been 
an official of the Propaganda Ministry with strictly limited powers 
of censorship. An illusion of independence in the once truly in- 
dependent national networks was desirable. To produce it they 
were left a great deal of liberty in non-political programmes and 
choice of staff, and wherever it was possible on political grounds 
the announcers of the ancien rigime were retained. The re- 
organized broadcasting system had to submit to local censor- 
ship, but this altered with the constantly fluctuating relations with 
the Reich and from country to country. Three different authorities, 
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Propaganda Ministry and the 
Army made their weight felt in different degrees. Where there was 
a military Commander-in-Chief, as in Paris, the radio stayed in the 
hands of the army. Friedrich Sieburg, who was in charge of the 
Parisian press and radio, took his orders from the High Command. 
In a country which preserved its neutrality over a long period, as 
Turkey did, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had the final say by 
virtue of the delicate diplomatic situation. Von Papen, for instance, 
was certainly able to decide what should or should not be said to 
Turkey. But if independence was as purely nominal as it was in 
Slovakia, then it was left to the Propaganda Ministry to speak as it 
pleased. The resignation of the chairman from the Slovak Radio 
in 1942 was not followed by another appointment. His office was 
merged under the head of the Propaganda Office, " who has always ", 
so the Slovak Radio explained, "taken a very lively interest in 
broadcasting ". 

Hitler's ideal victim listened to all three of these voices, to the 
frank warning from Germany, to the illegal whisper in his own 
country, and to the post-war advice to collaborate given by his familiar 
home station. The attacks were all different. They were like 
acquaintances who gave the same advice in different words and, 
proving the advice was sound, from quite different motives. For 
this reason and for the benefit of foreign workers in the Reich, the 
German Radio continued to broadcast open propaganda in many 
languages after capturing their internal broadcasting systems. The 
sharp difference of tone suggested that the home service was after 
all run by fellow-countrymen of integrity and independence. At 
moments of Franco-German crisis before the total occupation of 




VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

otsild even hear three different voices : Stuttgart 
y, Radio Paris more reasonably, and Lyons, uader 
y, emitting gentle whines. 

But while these voices wore complementary and advertised one 
another, die intrusion of genuinely independent sounds was of course 
final. London Moscow and Boston or New York were the most 
dangerous intruders, but the plan was so nicely calculated that even 
Germany's Allies and her own services in other languages did some- 
tiling to detract from its effect To take a quite unspectacular 
example, it was in order for the High Command controlling the 
Oslo Station to instruct Norwegians to fall in for Quisling's appoint- 
ment as Premier. 

In tomorrow's parade through Oslo only those in uniform will 
take part, such as the Labour Corps, Youth Organizations and the 
Police. The public is advised to line up along the route. 

But in a little-known language like Afrikaans addressed to a country 
as remote as South Africa, the Overseas Service could extract credit 
from the affair. 

The enthusiasm of the Norwegians at the nomination of Quisling 
as Prime Minister is tremendous. This evening just before seven a 
long procession carrying flares . . . marched through the streets 
and were enthusiastically cheered by large crowds of onlookers. 
They cheered the Prime Minister who had to appear again and again 
on die balcony. Finally the huge crowds took up .the Norwegian 
National Anthem, thus proving their allegiance to the new National 
Socialist Norway. 

To Norway, again, it was better to admit some of the truth. 

A fire broke out last night in the western wing of the railway 
station Oestbanen, in Oslo, and lasted till the early hours of this 
morning. There was also an explosion in the third-class waiting 
room at the Wcstbanen Station last night when much damage was 
done. 

It did not need the Regional Intelligence Officers to explain that 
as few Norwegians knew Afrikaans as South Africans who knew 
Norwegian. Similarly, Christmas in Berlin could be described in 
Bacchanalian terms to England, and the Russian winter with warmth 
to the Spain of the Blue Division. Nevertheless, the German 
Radio was not unduly rash ; die contradictory stories it put out 




In London every morning 
the Director of European 
Broadcasts, N. F. NEW- 
SOME, instructs his regional 
editors. On his left sit the 
Naval Correspondent, 
European Talks Editor, 
European News Editor and 
(back to camera) Colonel 
BRITTON. Below: sitting- 
are Information, Portu- 
guese, more Information, 
German, Operational, and 
Czech specialists. Stand- 
ing) are Assistant French 
Editor and English Editor. 







W 

b 

p 

w 




THE RADIO MAP n 

were as a rule false only in atmosphere and emphasis. Gradually 
foreign workers were needed inside Germany itself by the million, 
*nd home-sickness made their listening habits unpredictable. 
Slovak workers, for instance, were officially warned that they would 
be penalized even if they listened to their German-controlled 
home broadcasts. All news of interest to Slovak workers in 
Germany, they were told, was broadcast by Donausender three 
times a day. 

Lying is one of the most difficult operations ; it raises all kinds 
of problems of consistency and co-ordination apart from the risk of 
exposure by different sources. Goebbels himself implied its folly by 
attributing to the B.B.Q countless examples invented by himself. In 
contradiction of this method he published a letter allegedly written 
to him from the Front, which analysed " the motives inspiring the 
B.B.C.'s apparent preference for the truth." 1 What England counted 
on, said the letter, was " the slogan already spread abroad before the 
war, and unfortunately one which had become a fixed conception 
about the decency and ' fair play ' of the English ". London relied 
further, it continued, on " the tendency of Germans to regard every- 
thing coming from outside and everything which in any way appears 
to be objective as being alone true. . . ." 

Certainly England had learnt from propaganda experience in 
the last war the principle that it pays to tell the truth, though no 
doubt it pays a country better which is going to win the war than one 
which is certain to lose it Nor had we on our hands the complex 
transmitting instrument beyond our territory which called for 
master-plans of deception. 

In charge of England's European Service inside the B.B.C. was 
the Controller, Ivone Kirkpatrick, whose work in the Foreign Office 
had brought him in contact with Hitler, Hess and the other Nazi 
leaders. Under him, the Director of European Broadcasts was 
N. F. Newsome, a Fleet Street journalist. Above these executives 
and including the first of them, was an institution whose structure 
was explained by Winston Churchill to the House of Commons in 
October 1941. The Foreign Secretary, Minister of Information and 
the Minister of Economic Warfare were to be jointly responsible for 
the conduct of " Political Warfare ". " They have recommended, 

1 DNB. February 3, 1942. The letter is an obvious invention, but is interesting 
apart from it* contents, for the obvious anxiety shown over the relationship between 
Front and home. 

7 



98 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

and I have approved their recommendation, that a small special 
live for the conduct of political warfare should be established 



in lieu of the various agencies concerned at present, to conduct such 
propaganda in all its forms. This executive has already begun its 
work, but it would be contrary to the national interest to make any 
public statement regarding its personnel or the nature of its activi- 
ties* . . . The executive will be responsible to the three Ministers 
sitting together ; but if those Ministers, who have different functions 
and who approach matters from different angles, do not agree, the 
matter would come to me as Minister of Defence, and afterwards to 
the Cabinet" 

Six months later, when Dr. Hugh Dalton left the Ministry of 
Economic Warfare, the ministerial control was narrowed down. 
1 The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Eden, will be re- 
sponsible for policy," Mr. Attlee told the House of Commons, 
" subject of course to the general discussions of the War Cabinet, 
but the Minister of Information (Mr. Brendan Bracken) will be solely 
responsible for the administration of the Political Warfare Executive." 

Questions about the conduct of propaganda were often tabled. 
Mostly they dealt with policy, but often with equipment. While 
Captain Plugge hammered in the need for more transmitters, Mr. 
Nod Baker wondered " whether this new executive will be able to 
deal with the housing and staffing of the foreign broadcasting services, 
the inadequacy of which has long been a scandal ". Mr. Noel Baker's 
anxieties were more thoroughly allayed than Captain Plugge's, for in 
the following months office accommodation began to keep pace with 
the growth of staff, but the number of transmitters, though it put 
on a spurt, still lagged far behind Hitler's, and it was not until the 
fourth year that transmitters began to fall to our arms. 

Protests were often made by Members of Parliament about the 
secrecy in which the Political Warfare Executive had its birth and 
did its work. Mr. de la Bere wanted to know " what is the difference 
between a secret question and an awkward question ? " and another 
member made inquiries about the cars owned by the executive. 
" The affairs of that department," said Mr. Brendan Brackens " are 
wrapped in impenetrable mystery, and their cars are camouflaged." 
But in April 1942 the Minister of Information divulged the names 
of the executive. The Director-General of Political Warfare was 
Sir Robert Bruce-Lockhart, who was knighted in the New Year's 
Honour's List, 1943. Formerly he had been journalist, author. 



THE RADIO MAP 99 

and British wartime representative with the Czech Government. 
Under him was a Policy Committee consisting of R. A. Leeper, 
the diplomat, Brigadier R. A. D. Brooks and Ivonc Kirkpatrick. 

If control of foreign broadcasting by the B.B.C. was in part sur- 
rounded by secrecy, it was in a different way from the German 
system where the grip of Regional Intelligence Officers turned die 
broadcasts in different languages into dictated and often mutually 
exclusive essays in propaganda. This difference in structure had 
far-reaching consequences in the integrity of the broadcasts, and it 
enables me in this book to relegate the Intelligence Officers of the 
B.B.C. to a later chapter on technicalities where they will play 
an efficient and highly honourable role. There were other intelli- 
gence officers, but of these I may only mention their existence. 
Here we may observe the news flowing into the B.B.C. from the 
Services and the independent news agencies to the Copytaster who 
tests it first for accuracy and only second for its news and propaganda 
values. It flows on in the form of finished stories to the regional 
editors, who add local detail and give policy " slants " according to 
other instructions. But this imposition of regional policy did not, 
as it did in the German Radio, imply the enslavement of the editors 
to a corps of pseudo-spies and Party propagandists. The services 
were slanted only within limits, because their first task was to adhere 
to the news. If they departed from it or gave contradictory variations, 
they knew they could rely on being discovered by Europe's innumer- 
able " radio eavesdroppers ". As the radio war went on the number 
of these people who listened to other languages than their own 
because of jamming or because they suspected what was expressly 
said to them, grew to such proportions that in some countries 
observers believed them to be in a majority. 

A final contrast to the German system occurred on the last lap 
to the microphone, where translators worked with the language 
supervisors and switch censors in an atmosphere of friendly 
collaboration which was very different from the reign of terror 
exercised by the switch censors in Berlin. As a result language 
as well as truth survived the strain of war a good deal better 
in the B.B.C. 

The contrast between these opposing organizations did much to 
explain the difference in the two voices. For quick opportunist 
success the German model was almost perfectly designed, but for a 
long war and for a peace to follow, the opportunist machinery was 



VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

&taL The British model, which was constantly evolving, but re* 
mained the despair of Dr. Goebbels' admirers, neglected opportunist 
possibilities, worked to retain and increase its audience, and had its 
eye on the peace. 

The German machine was ready first and won victories. In 
theory it could set Flemings against Walloons at the moment desired 
by the High Command and reunite them in the solidarity demanded 
by the " Fortress of Europe ". It could pretend to each occupied 
territory that theirs was the only one in which people were foolish 
enough to reject the benefits of the New Order. But it did not allow 
for listeners who " eavesdropped ", nor did it imagine that anyone 
remembered contradictions between what was said yesterday and 
today. More important was an assumption that rival voices did not 
exist, or at any rate would soon collapse into silence. To atone for 
die deficiencies of the theory, an elaborate technique of jamming 
was evolved ; but even if this had been completely successful, 
it would not have meant the end of news distribution. No Gestapo 
could have censored the secret Polish newspapers and the con- 
versations of individual Frenchmen. Hitler unconsciously assumed 
that Europeans could be brought to bed with the compliance of 
Germans. 

We are concerned at the moment with questions of organization 
rather than with war aims, but the two meet. When the German 
Radio had played its part in destroying a country, it had nothing to 
propose but subjection under Germany. The organization of the 
European wireless re-echoed this message. While the independence 
of certain home stations was emphasized, everything was done to 
magnify the overwhelming strength of die Third Reich. Radio 
Paris had to relay transmissions in German. The names of 
national stations were Germanized. Above all, the omnipotence 
of the Leader was impressed on the inhabitants of Europe as 
it had been on his own people. Frenchmen were humiliated 
enough to hear ordinary relays from Berlin introduced by a list of 
stations carrying them, which included their own, but on occasions 
of a Hitler speech this device for advertising the extent of his 
power readied grotesque limits. "The speech," a German 
announcer told Europe after Hitler had spoken on January 30, 1942, 
" was relayed by 

die Protectorate stations of Prague, Brno and Moravska Ostrava ; 
the Government-General stations of Cracow, Warsaw and Lwow ; 



THE RADIO MAP 101 

the stations Oslo, Paris, Belgrade, Athens and Salonika ; the Ostland 
stations of Riga, with Modon, Goldingen and Libau, Kovno with 
Vilna, Reval with Dorpat, Minsk, Baronowicze, Pskov, Smolensk, 
A Dniepropetrovsk and Vinitsa ; the radios of Italy, Japan, Finland, 
Roumania, Manchukuo, Slovakia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Hungary, 
Holland, Denmark and Switzerland ; short wave stations DZH and 
DZE were simultaneously transmitting a Spanish translation for 
Central and South America." 1 

Apart, in fact, from the neutral Spaniards, all Europeans were ex- 
pected to know German or to receive an emotional shock as telling 
as knowledge of what Hitler actually said. Later they were favoured 
with translations. 

From the beginning of the war when he could only speak from a 
few stations inside the Reich, Hitler extended his range until the 
European ether was almost exclusively under his control. At the end 
of the second year he could speak from nearly a hundred medium 
and long-wave transmitters, stretching from Calais in the West to 
Dniepropetrovsk in the East, from Tromso in the North to Athens 
in the South. The enormous area over which they were scattered 
was important because medium and long waves do not carry far in 
daylight ; by these means England could only reach the West of 
Europe, and after dark somewhat further towards the centre. Short 
waves were more dangerous ; narrowly beamed, they can straddle 
the world by day or night, and about half Europe's sets were capable 
of receiving them. Here Hitler resorted to confiscation, to the erec- 
tion of ultra-weak transmitters (Ortsender) for ultra-weak receivers, 
or to marketing devices such as the export to Roumania of large 
numbers of Teleftmken sets which could only receive a limited 
range of wavelengths. Not until the Allies began to capture 
transmitters, and stations in Morocco and Algeria were freed 
from Axis speakers, did the tide of brute technical force begin to 
turn. 

Hitler's defects made it inevitable that having overcome the first 
of his obstacles so successfully, he should have failed to show any- 
thing but military awareness of the second, the danger threatening 
from the diversity and independent descent of the peoples to whom 

1 The effect of this display might have been a little reduced if listeners had 
known that allied Finland and Italy, occupied Denmark and neutral Switzerland 
evaded any undertaking they had given to relay the speech. Denmark played truant 
so regularly on these occasions that it is surprising she was still mentioned. 



102 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

bespoke. In his hands was an apparatus unique in European his tory 
for the chance it gave of respecting and fostering varied cultures 
while uniting them in a common organization under German 
leadership ; but the discernment of those who had organized it was 
used for -mere economic and military exploitation. The directional 
appeals were first of a disruptive kind, to undermine independence, 
and secondly systems designed to suppress these cultures as though 
at their own wish in favour of the Third Reich. Adherence to this 
strategy, which Hitler had used in childhood and in the struggle 
within Germany, was bound to fail in a situation as different as 
modern Europe. If his practice of psychology had had the scientific 
basis so often claimed for it, he would have known that although 
Pavlov found it easy to condition the reflexes of tame domestic 
creatures, he needed the utmost patience with others which had 
once enjoyed liberty. And Pavlov, as we have said, was dealing 
with dogs. 

Since the European listener was still more or less free to choose 
the voices he wanted to hear, we may finally add to our account 
of the organization of London's European Service the spokesmen of 
the occupied territories themselves. One by one the exiled govern- 
ments established themselves in England and made their influence 
felt on the B.B.C's broadcasts in their own language. Sometimes 
it amounted to no more than a say in policy ; sometimes they con- 
trolled a programme of their own, such as La France Libre or Radio 
Orange. But even where control was purely English, it was usually 
native artists, and often the most brilliant, who filled the majority 
of transmission hours. From the tangle of interlocking controls 
that resulted -the British Government's, the Free Governments' 
and the contact of the unattached exile it would have been too much 
to hope for a dear vision of much beyond the undesirability of Hitler. 
But however uprooted the exiles may have seemed to their distant 
countrymen, and however complacent the British Government may 
have sounded to men dying of starvation, it was not difficult for this 
service to compete successfully with the German. The well-told 
story of the present was already something, and for those to whom a 
future based on the Atlantic Charter seemed insubstantial there was 
Moscow. 

As we listen to these voices speaking to one country after another, 
the contrast will not be flattering to Germany. We shall tend auto- 
matically to judge her voice like theirs by its sustaining power, its 



THE RADIO MAP 103 

ability to convince and amuse, to educate listeners for citizenship 
in the promised New Order and above all to win a long war. But 
the German Radio was planned as a short-term weapon of destruc- 
tion. Let us first do it the justice of listening as it went into action 
with the Panzers. 



THE WAR IN FRENCH 



Rien svr le bombardement du Havre ; 

Rien sur VEspagne et 1* Italic ; 

Rien sur V evacuation probable de la colonie anglais* de Paris. 

Censorship Consignes for May 20, 
1940. ALEXANDER WERTH, " The 
Last Days of Paris ". 

" The Parisian crowd shows itself to be docile and easily preserved from panic. The 
contrast with Russian crowds of the past is striking" CHAKOTIN, " The Rape of 
the Masses". 

" Their cause was lost when, rather than see Paris destroyed as the Poles had the 
courage to see Warsaw destroyed, they abandoned it without a blow. Then panic seised 
the nation as it had seized the army, and there was no one to stay it. It was a moral 
failure that led to a material failure "SOMERSET MAUGHAM, " Strictly Personal". 



FERDONNET AND THE FRENCH COLLAPSE 

FROM the outbreak of war the German Radio built up a large audience 
of French listeners who had grown suspicious of the statements of 
their home press and radio. As the invasion began the weapon was 
already in contact with its objective. 

There were several connected reasons for this success. In 
Ferdonnet, " the traitor of Stuttgart ", who was condemned to death 
in his absence by a French court, the Germans had a first-class speaker 
who drove home his simple, unvarying points with force and convic- 
tion. Many Frenchmen thought him better than anything to be 
heard on the home radio ; certainly he was incomparably superior 
to the English Lord Haw-Haw, and his personality seems to have 
spread over the other talks and the news-editing. France, he said, 
could only lose by her association with England. She might sink to 
the level of a colony, plainly would do if the treatment of the two 
armies was an indication. The English soldier was not only clothed 
better ; he was paid better, and never failed to buy up the available 
women in his particular plot of France. It was a painful thing to say, 
but at this very moment a certain number of French wives were 
submitting to his advances. Mostly, though, the Englishman was 

not a soldier at all j he was not even training to become one ; he 

104 



THE WAR IN FRENCH 



105 



preferred his dub in Pall Mall and his port. And this dash of 
interests at the front was repeated throughout the body of France, 
where plutocrats, working for the most part through the Trusts, 
exploited the workers in peacetime, and having joined England's 
war against Socialist Germany, herded their victims into the obsolete 
Maginot forts to protect their power to exploit them further. 

Countries seem to get the propaganda they deserve ; they not 
only give their due, but receive it. Against the Soviet Union, 
Hitler's Third Reich could find nothing effective to say and no one 
to say it ; but against the static French Republic a single intelligent 
traitor who took his stand on the ramshackle ideology of the Third 
Reich could do damage. It was, of course, no more an accident 
that an able French traitor could be found than that he had con- 
vincing arguments to produce. About a half of propaganda must be 
plucked from the body of the society to which it is addressed ; if 
the wounds are not already there, they cannot be deepened and 
widened. " There's only one war I'm prepared to fight in, and III 
fight that all right," a French sailor told Somerset Maugham. 

"That's the war of the pobr 
against the rich, and one of these 
days that war's coming." In 
the Maginot Line, Maugham 
found time hanging heavily on 
the soldiers' hands. They envied 
the English and listened to 
Ferdonnet. 

One French soldier sent a 
sketch (reproduced here) of his 
spare-time amusement to a maga- 
zine, Toute la Radio, a few weeks 
before the Battle of France. 
The hyper-sensitive, home-made, 
almost invisible set it illustrates 
was made and used throughout the army, according to the editor 
of the magazine, who was impressed by the number of letters which 
reached him on the subject. It was christened the " Micro-Soldat " 
and could receive a considerable range of stations. Germany's 
French-speaking transmitters had been grouped near the frontier 
where the French Army was massed, and could have been heard 
by the weakest of receivers. 




EVE OF THE BATTLE OF FRANCE 



106 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

On the first day <of the war the author of this book found himself 
among a trainload of soldiers on their way to the Maginot Line* 
Conversation centred interminably on the miraculous defensive 
qualities of the position they were taking up, but it by no means 
left them without fears. They were worried about what would 
happen to the forms and workshops they left behind, about the decay 
which would gradually set in among their possessions. The 
months of inaction which followed greatly intensified these worries. 
Just before the invasion a peasant, who may or may not have 
been listening to Ferdonnct, made an appeal to the B.B.C. which 
showed that the fiyr^flmgrifgl theme of German propaganda had 
come to be assumed by him as the basis of his universe. " Please/' 
he wrote, " could you arrange for my son Joseph to be replaced 
in the French Army -by one of your soldiers so that he can come 
back and help me to run the farm, which I cannot keep going 
without his help ? " 

The more intelligent knew on the whole what they were fighting 
against, but had a most confused idea of what they were fighting for. 
The extreme Left, with views of its own, had been imprisoned 
wholesale without regard to the effect this would have on the workers. 
The extreme Right, who remained at liberty, sympathized with Hitler 
to whom they looked for salvation from Bolshevism. Between these 
two sections were a mass of unconvinced individualists, weary of 
political intrigue and as vague in their desires as the Government. 
Jean Giraudoux, the poet who directed the Bureau of Information, 
entirely failed to stir the public enthusiasm. (It is perhaps worth 
noting that psychology had made less progress in France than in 
most other European countries.) Neither Frossard, the Minister, 
nor Prevpst, who succeeded Giraudoux, had an inkling of mass 
propaganda as it had been developed abroad. Traditionally it has 
always been easy for the French intellectual to speak to and for the 
masses, but in this war the intelligentsia were at one with the workers 
in distrusting their home propaganda still more fervently than in 
the first world war. How right they were we shall shortly see. 

The defensive attitude of the Propaganda Ministry, with its 
passion for good news and denials // riest pas vrai que . . . II est 
inexact que . . . had its fitting counterpart in the jammers which 
were the official reply to the German Radio. A system of eighty 
small stations was spread across the country with the sole object of 
stopping French ears. It was calculated that everybody would be 



THE WAR IN FRENCH 107 

dose enough to one of them to hear nothing from Germany at all. 
By the use of a wide range of wavelengths this Maginot Line was as 
completely outflanked during the invasion as its counterpart opposite 
the Rhine ; but between the winter of 1939 and the beginning of 
operations, it was of the greatest value in stimulating, like M. 
Frossard's more positive attempts at propaganda, the Frenchman's 
curiosity. " I often listen to the Traitor of Stuttgart out of curiosity/* 
said a woman writing from Landes in February 1940. " As for my 
husband, he gets irritated and shouts : * Shut up, or I'll smash the 
wireless ! ' " 

In the following arrangement of the propaganda campaign to 
which France was subjected during the actual military offensive, 
the B.B.C. will be scarcely heard. The B.B.C/s service in French 
before the collapse was something like the third dummy funnel on a 
liner ; it was begun chiefly as a diplomatic completion of the services 
in German and Italian. Even so, the general principle of sticking 
soberly to the news won it a reputation. I have read a hundred 
letters of praise, and almost as many denounced the French Radio as 
praised the B.B.C. " We do not wish to be spared," wrote a girl of 
eighteen from Alen^on, as the German armies drove south towards 
Paris, " we do not wish to be treated like children." But as the cam- 
paign advanced to its conclusion it became impossible to give up* 
to-the-minute news not least because the French Ministry of 
Information resented it. " A thing that alarms many of our French 
listeners," wrote a Lyons workman on June 6, " is the announcement 
of an agreement between the French and British Ministers of 
Information. We are afraid that your bulletins will lose much of their 
interest . . ." 

Though I have tried to give a fair emphasis to the varying themes, 
inaccuracies and volubility of the different voices in this battle, the 
selection is inevitably personal ; it represents less than a half of one 
per cent of what was said in the French language. But the pattern 
should emerge the more dearly. It has a classical, even a biological 
simplicity. 

First and above all, Germany gives out a fearsome picture of 
herself calculated to paralyse the enemy. The Praying Mantis does 
this before feeding on its victims by the simple expedientof separating 
its hind limbs and assuming a spectral appearance. Hitler fused 
propaganda and military action together by such devices as the 
screamers attached to dive-bombers, the "secret weapon", the 



108 % VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

attack on Sedan and the carefully timed entry of Italy into the war. 
This emphasis on fear implies the inter-dependence of propaganda 
and military success; each place-name, each battle becomes a 
propaganda victory which helps to produce the next military 
victory. The weakness of the French propaganda was only in part 
traceable to the propagandists. E ven if they had been skilful, which 
they were not, they could have achieved practically nothing. As it 
was, the radio technicians, as well as the directors and speakers, 
showed themselves prepared only for the end of the world. In 
Holland, Belgium and France the main transmitters were either 
handed over intact to the Germans or else so ineffectively sabotaged 
that they were in action against the French within a few days or 
weeks. Here again Russia was to supply an unflattering contrast a 
year later, for the conquered transmitters of the Soviet took months 
to restore. 

Apart from impressing this picture of invincibility, the main 
strategy of the German propagandists aimed at splitting up the 
enemy. They worked over a long period to separate the Flemings 
from the French, the French from the British, the masses from the 
governments (if possible by the assassination of the leaders), the 
anti-Fascists from the countries they wanted to assist. Each of these 
campaigns had its military counterpart and climax. The Dutch and 
Belgian armies capitulated separately ; tanks forced a dividing line 
between the English and the French ; the governments were driven 
off from their peoples ; the anti-Nazis were interned and handed 
bade to Hitler. As a rule military action formed a brief climax to a 
propaganda campaign which had been in progress for months and 
sometimes years, but the attack on Paris was an interesting exception. 
Here the main propaganda campaign began with the air-raid of 
June 3, which hastened evacuation, and thereafter propaganda and 
spontaneous panic made further large-scale action unnecessary. 
The capital was handed over appropriately enough by radio. Appro- 
priately, too, we shall leave die French disaster on the day when 
the French Radio declared that although the Navy was intact and the 
Air Force at least existent, the armies, " divided into four distinct 
groups, are separated from one another, and risk being engulfed by 
the Germans". 

A striking detail of German technique was their use of the 
mechanism known to psychoanalysts as projection. No sooner was 
the Third Reich aware of a new vice she had developed than her 



THE WAR IN FRENCH 109 

opponents were accused of it. In this way Churchill was said to 
suffer from a desire to emulate Napoleon, nearly a hundred civilians 
were killed in Lyons by French antiaircraft defences, white Allied 
ambulances shot down German fighters. How far this technique 
was used consciously is difficult to tell. It may have provided 
sympathizers with a counter to atrocity stories, but on die other 
hand Germany's conscience was heavily loaded, and having no direct 
means of expression, may well have travelled into the devious paths 
of paranoia. A precedent existed in Frederick the Great's furious 
denunciations of anyone against whom he was secretly hatching a 
plot. 

A more important question which cannot be answered is how far 
German propaganda was responsible for the defeat. But to a believer 
in political warfare such a question is as meaningless as whether tanks 
or motorized infantry won the battle on land. The radio was one 
piston in an attacking machine which relied on the joint action of all 
its components. Just because it was co-ordinated, it cannot be con- 
sidered in isolation either from the rest of the German attack or from 
the picture of French weaknesses from which it originally took shape. 
What we can say is that it was the first radio campaign in history to 
be so perfectly fitted to both. 

Of the many authors who have already described the Battle of 
France, only Somerset Maugham has to my knowledge laid due 
stress on the consequences of the surrender of Paris* This act was 
decisive. The importance that the German Radio attached to it 
should have been warning enough ; but instead of withstanding 
these siren invitations to preserve culture, property and blood, the 
French Radio echoed them. On the day of occupation, the German 
Radio began to boast of what it had always known : that in an 
unusually centralized country a huge psychological prize was here 
combined with a unique economic and military prize, and that its 
conquest must be the supreme victory of political warfare. The 
battles in the north were excellent material for a spectre ; the radio 
had only to separate its hind legs and the Praying Maatifc^ould feed 
on its victim. One cannot help noticing that 
function with a certain relish ; crude sad 
in the spirit of the Third Reich. 




ill 




POLITICAL WARFARE DOCUMENTARY 

I. THE ROAD TO DUNKIRK 

In the early hours of May 10 the Germans 
invade Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg with 
mechanized forces supported by dive-bombers and 
parachute troops. The headquarters of Lord Gort 
at Arras are bombed. 

WEDNESDAY, MAY 8. 

GERMAN RADIO (to the home public} : Nervousness and high tension in 
neutral states continue unabated. Over and over again the question is 
put : Where will the British aggressor now act ? 

THURSDAY, MAY 9. 

FRENCH RADIO (to Germany) : The whole of Holland looks like an armed 
camp. There are guards at all public buildings, aerodromes and 
railway stations. Packed troop-trains continue to move up to the 
frontier. Hitler's agents will find no Quisling in Holland. 

GERMAN RADIO (to France) : Do you realize that 90 per cent of Englishmen 
gave a negative judgement when questioned about Churchill ? They 
said he was intelligent but crude. They remembered that he had made 
a hash of things at Galiipoli. He has been appointed First Lord of the 
Admiralty in spite of his failure in the last war. 

FRIDAY, MAY 10. 

DUTCH RADIO : German parachute troops are being dropped in Dutch 

uniforms. 

Radio Luxembourg^ the most powerful station in Europe after Moscow, 
goes off the air. In the same way a year later Radio Belgrade 
would go off the air on the first day of the attack on Jugoslavia. 

GERMAN RADIO (to France) : The Luftwaffe now virtually dominates the 
North Sea. The successes up to now are only beginning. There will 
be very unpleasant surprises for Britain and France. 

SATURDAY, MAY n. 

GERMAN RADIO (to Holland) : The German Air Arm has been bombing 
the fortresses of L&ge and Namur with its heaviest type of bombs. 
The armour-plating burst open like an egg-shell, and shortly afterwards 
heavy explosions were seen and fires occurred. The attacks are continu- 
ing. They will pave the way for the charges of the German troops. 

At daybreak this morning German parachute troops were landed 
near Rhrims. The object is to prepare the way for reinforcements, and 



112 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

by occupying key-points to prevent the enemy from carrying through 
their movements. The French Forces and the Maginot Line will thus 
be attacked in the rear. 

The Luftwaffe has attacked French transport columns. At an 
altitude of only a few metres, our fighters swept along the enemy troops, 
machine-gunning them. Our bombers destroyed cars and streets. 
The results were terrific. 

BRUSSELS (to Belgium) : In the North the Belgians are resisting on their 
main line and are carrying out effective destructions. The French and 
English are advancing. In Holland, troops have established themselves 
strongly on their line of defence after flooding the evacuated areas. 
The Belgians and Dutch hold a strong position covered by the course of 
the Meuse and a line of deep and wide marshes. Dutch G.H.Q. 
announces that ... the German advance has been stopped at the 
frontier. 

A detachment of Dutch troops were attacked by a group of people, 
some in civilian clothes and others in Dutch uniform. Other cases 
have been notified of Germans in disguise. 

GERMAN RADIO (to the Dutch Army) : Soldiers, for whom are you fighting ? 
For whom are you allowing yourselves to be butchered? For the 
capitalists in Holland, France and England. 

(To the Dutch people) : One day when this plutocratic war comes to 
an end, the Dutch people will realize how they have been incited by an 
unscrupulous clique to act against a brother nation. The German 
people were toiling to obtain a place in Europe. The plutocrats hated 
and feared this. No lie was too gross to drag the name of Germany 
through the mud. . . . What do the plutocrats care whether your 
young men are bleeding to death on the battlefields ? They are think- 
ing of their gold. They will flee at the first sign of defeat. 

BRUSSELS (to Belgium repeatedly) : The Salvation Army issues an appeal 
to all those in a position to supply them with mattresses and pillows to 
forward them to their headquarters at 20 Rue H6pital, Brussels. These 
are required for civilian refugees. 

GERMAN RADIO (to Holland) : The Dutch Premier has forbidden the 
Dutch people to listen to the German Radio. Again we find an 
example of false neutrality. . . . 

We tell you that resistance or sabotage by civilians will be broken 
and punished. 

RABID PARIS : The War Office announces that those on leave, including 
land and air forces who were given ten days* leave and were due to 
return to their regiments on May 14 or later, have to rejoin earlier than 
was at first thought necessary. 

GERMAN RADIO (to Holland): That Chamberlain has resigned and 
Churchill has become Premier does not surprise Berlin. It is in line 



POLITICAL WARFARE DOCUMENTARY 

with the British policy that the biggest warmonger, Enemy No. i, also 
becomes Minister No. i. . . . 

London is rigjht on only one point, that is her quickness in promising 
help within half an hour. 

RADIO PARIS: There are further reports of parachutist landings in 
Holland. The Germans are said to be using all sorts of tricks and 
disguises. * . . The great fire at Rotterdam is found to have been 
started by spies. 

BRUSSELS : It is reported from Amsterdam that in no place in Holland 
have the Germans penetrated more than i2\ miles. . . . 

The Ambassador of Ecuador in France, who is also his country's 
League of Nations representative, has visited the Dutch, Belgian and 
Luxembourg ambassadors in Paris and conveyed to than his country's 
indignation at the violation of their neutrality. 

GERMAN RADIO (to Holland) : Every Dutchman found guilty of sabotage 
will be shot. In the last few days we have repeatedly warned you. . . . 
Is it necessary to have your country destroyed ? You destroy your own 
communications, bridges, roads, etc. Look at Denmark and her 
reaction to our occupation of her territory ! On April 9 our advance 
into Denmark started now look at the result. Both your country and 
Denmark are in German hands. Look at the difference. 

MONDAY, MAY 13. 

GERMAN RADIO (to Holland at 1.30 p.m.) : In Liverpool, transport ships 
lay ready to sail to Holland so that troops might launch an attack 
through the country on the Ruhr district . . . Germany has been 
preparing a programme of work and peace for many a year. A war 
would not suit her aim. But because die plutocracies see this effort as 
a threat against themselves they pumped hatred into the hearts of their 
people against social Germany. 

(At 4.30 p.m.) : Here is a warning to the civilian population of 
Maasluis (twenty-five miles from Rotterdam). The population of this 
town is urgently requested to leave at once. 

British forces have landed in Iceland, Aruba and Curasao and the 
Dutch West Indies. Has the fate of South Africa been forgotten ? 
Remember how South Africans have been struggling for many years 
against British domination. 

(At 7.30 p.m.) : The defences of Lige have been broken. This is 
due to the Fuhrer's secret weapon. The Maginot Line will soon fall 
in the same way. . . . 

(In Flemish) : Flemings, Soldiers ! In the Belgian State you have 

always been citizens of inferior status. In the Belgian Army you are 

treated in the same way as the French and English treat their black 

colonial troops, as cannon fodder and nothing more. Thousands of 

8 



VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

your officers do not even understand your language ; they despise you, 
and now you are to die for a pro-French clique which wants to sacrifice 
the Fleming for England and France. Are you going to be fooled? ... 
Throw down your arms ! When you come over to us, we shall treat you 
as the sons of a kindred Germanic nation. 

(To Walloons) : If you help the Germans now, they will help you 

later to develop your country. . . . Belgium doesn't care a damn for 

you. She only expects Walloon workers to die for her. 

. Separatist appeals to Flemings and Walloons had been made sporadically 

since March 1939 ; they increased with the invasion and continued 

daily and sometimes hourly until after King Leopold's capitulation. 

The importance Germany put on them could be seen from the fact 

that they were transmitted over the highest powered stations, at first 

on Deutschlandsender interrupting other programmes^ and then 

on the captured transmitters of Brussels and Luxembourg. A similar 

campaign was carried out in April 1941 against the Serbs and Croats. 

(In Dutch at 8.30 p.m.} : The German flag is now flying over the 

Dutch capital. Holland has capitulated in five days fourteen fewer 

than it took to conquer Poland. (In fact the capitulation was not made 

until 7 p.m. of the following day.) 

Why did you dabble in petty questions of politics and forget the 
true interests of your country ? You were brave soldiers, but you were 
undermined by the lies of your High Command, such as those about 
German parachutists in Dutch uniform. . . . There are about 450,000 
unemployed workers in Holland. Now they will all be given work. 

RADIO PARIS (at 1.30 p.m.) : Careful examination of the situation in 
Holland provides favourable comment. The actions of parachute 
troops have been checked. A number of airfields previously captured 
by the enemy have been retaken. In the region of Ligge the advance 
of the Germans has been checked owing to the destruction of bridges 
and roads by British aircraft. 

TUESDAY, MAY 14. 

DUTCH RADIO (at 8.30 a.m.) : For technical reasons news will now be given 
on 4x5 metres only. Listeners will recognize the voices they know. 
After a religious address, assuring listeners that there was no cause for 
anxiety, the Dutch Radio announced that the Queen and her 
Ministers had decided to transfer the seat of government. Their 
destination was not revealed. At midday a summary of the military 
situation was given. 

The northern part of Rotterdam is firmly in our hands. The 
Army has withdrawn to the flooding line. Den Helder is still intact. 
In North Brabant the situation is uncertain, but Zcdand is still in our 
hands. 



POLITICAL WARFARE DOCUMENTARY 115 

BRUSSELS (at 10 a.m.') ; We bring you the true sews at hourly intervals. 
Do not believe the news from enemy stations. 

The Press Department of the Foreign Ministry announces that all 
persons going to France are requested in their own interests to use 
the railways. Evacuation is proceeding normally by that means of 
communication. 

(Lt.-Col. Casanier) : The situation is not such as panicky people 
describe it I give my word of honour that I have spent an hour with 
the Minister of Defence, and he has declared : " Brussels is in no 
way menaced. All movements are effected with order and method, 
and we can view the future with confidence." 

(Brussels Announcer at 4 p.m.} : The population should not see 
parachutists everywhere. Often shell-bursts in the sky and light signals 
are mistaken for parachutists. . . . The population should remain 
and confident. 



(M. Pierlot at 6.12 p.m.] : Fairly numerous attacks occurred 
yesterday on various sectors of the front. Our troops, adapted to new 
methods of warfare, resisted admirably, and towards the end of the day 
they retained all their positions. Since then certain modifications have 
been carried out in our defence arrangements in conformity with the 
view of the High Command. They were executed in accordance with 
orders and without incident. This morning, further attacks were 
launched in various sectors, but none of them succeeded in breaching 
our lines. The situation, therefore, is one of normal conditions. 

Contrary to current rumours, not a single parachutist do you 
hear me well? landed in Brussels either yesterday or during the 
night. 

HILVERSUM (in Dutch for Holland at 5.56 p.m.) : The Dutch Government 
has arrived in London. They arrived by warship and were greeted by 
representatives of the Foreign Office. . . . 

Many people are arriving at Ymuiden in an attempt to cross to 
Britain. The Burgomaster advises against this procedure as there is 
no possibility of crossing. 

(Proclamation of Dutch Commander-in-Chief, General Winkelman> 
read at 7.40 p.m. and repeated by himself three hours later) : This after- 
noon the Germans bombarded Rotterdam, while Utrecht is also 
threatened with destruction. In order to protect the civil population 
and to avoid further bloodshed I consider myself justified in ordering 
the troops concerned to cease fighting. 

After the national anthem has been played a voice suddenly speaks in 
German. 

To the Foreign Office, Berlin, urgent. Please immediately inform 
the Reichsminister and Secretary of State that today at 19.00 hours 
the Dutch General Schuunnan appeared in my office and declared : 
" I have to inform your Excellency that the Dutch Army, with the 



Ii6 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

exception of its troops in Zedand, lays down its arms before die 
advancing German troops." 

A( four in thi morning the German voice calk direct to the Foreign 
Office in Berlin. 

For the Foreign Office, Berlin as quickly as possible. Here is 
the German Consul-General in Amsterdam. 

(German Consul) : On their entry into Amsterdam, German troops 
will have no difficulties. Everything is prepared. The entry will 
proceed smoothly. The population will behave with calm. 

Announcer (in Dutch among other orders at 10 p.m.) : Until further 
notice it is forbidden to sell alcoholic drinks. 

FRENCH RADIO (to Austria from Lyons at 10.45 P- m O : During the last 
twenty-four hours the military situation in Belgium has considerably 
improved, and the improvement is being maintained. . . . Brussels is 
by no means endangered. 

Hitler is waging war by fraud, dropping parachutists masquerading 
as peasants and parsons. Children's balloons have been filled with 
poison gas, and poisoned chocolates distributed. 

WEDNESDAY, MAY 15. 

DUTCH RADIO : At midnight Dutch time will be placed on the same 
footing as German time. All watches and docks must be put forward 
one hour and forty minutes. 

Notwithstanding the prohibition of the sale of alcoholic drinks, beer 
may now be sold to officers and privates of the German Army of 
Occupation. 

By order of the Commander-in-Chief all those imprisoned under 
martial law (the Fifth Columnists) are to be released at once. 

GERMAN RADIO (to France at 9.15 p.m.} : Since the beginning of the war 
we have kept on impressing on you that you have been thrust into the 
present conflict by Britain who stood in need of your arms, your bodies 
and your blood to defend the English coast We have also drawn your 
attention to the fete which ha$ overtaken the other allies of Britain one 
after another. Poland, Finland, Norway, Holland and Belgium have 
fallen victims to English treachery. . . . The sovereign moment has 
arrived ... the moment when you should cease fibre. 

THURSDAY, MAY 16. 

A German break-through near Sedan begins the 
southern prong of thepincer movement which is 
to separate the British from the French. The 
northern arms now press south. 

DUTCH RADIO : This evening there will be a continuous procession of 
German mechanized troops from Haarlem to Utrecht. They will follow 



POLITICAL WARFARE DOCUMENTARY '117 

the Haarlemmerweg and proceed along the Nassauplein, Nassaukade, 
etc. Traffic along these toads during that time will be interrupted as 
well as at cross-roads. 

Two belated German lorries had dream up outside the AVRO studios 
with a complete transmitter, a thousand records* programmes for two 
weeks and announcers. The occupation party consisted of thirty 
men, of whom half were from the programme staff of the German 
Radio and half technicians. They seemed perfectly acquainted with 
the technical installations of the studios. 

GERMAN RADIO (to Holland) : The economy of Holland must now be 
revised to meet modern standards. . . . The tremendous agricultural 
and industrial resources will at last be revealed at their true value. The 
number of ships built under the old system, the number of cattle kept, 
the number of eggs produced, the quantity of fruit and vegetables, can 
all be doubled at short notice by proper economic methods. . . . 

The surrender of the Dutch Army and the retreat in Belgium was 

not reported in the Paris newspapers yesterday. They devote their 

space to harrowing stories of German atrocities in Belgium and northern 

' France. They describe the machine-gunning of innocent peasants in 

the fields, the shooting of a milkmaid while milking, and so on. 

It is typical of the English that while on May 10 all French leave 
was cancelled, only a very few British soldiers on leave were recalled. 

RADIO PARIS (at 6.30 a.m.} : Last night the German Radio warned its 
German listeners against easy optimism. . . . 

BELGIAN RADIO (at 9 a.m. transmitting now from Lille instead of Brussels) : 
Yesterday evening Allied circles were optimistic. 

(At 9.40 a.m.) : German troops have entered the Hague and 
Amsterdam. 

(At 12 noon. M. Delfosse 9 Minister of Transport) : The ordeal will 
not last long. ... In all offensive wars the aggressor has the initial 
advantage. . . . But then comes the moment when the enemy has to 
stop and is counter-attacked. The victor of yesterday becomes the 
vanquished of today. We have time on our side. 

GERMAN RADIO : A few kilometres from the French frontier a road was 
blown up and troops came to a huge crater. Immediately the pioneers 
are at hand, and without waiting for the arrival of machinery, trees are 
being felled and carried to the spot by twenty or thirty men. Brandies 
are cut off tod in a short time beams are ready and passage is made 
for thousands of vehicles moving west. 

RADIO PARIS (at 1.30 p.m.') : The battle on the line Namur-Sedan is 
developing into a typical war of movement. It is not advisable, however, 
to reveal any details about the progress of the battle. 

GERMAN RADIO (to France) : Now France who boasts she is invincible sees 
German troops crossing her fortified frontier south of the Ardennes. 



tig VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

fRlDAY, MAY 17. 

GERMAN RADIO (to France and Belgium at 8.36 p.m.) ; Louvain has fallen 
and towards evening German troops entered Brussels. Fate has 
fulfilled itself. Panic reigns in Paris. Banks and savings banks are 
beleaguered by the public, while the Government's panic is shown in its 
hunt for hiding places in the proyinces. At last it is understood in 
France to what degtee the rulers have told lies to the nation. ... 

The French Army is streaming back in retreat while official quarters 
try to prove that such places as have not been named jn the sober 
German communiques are still in French hands. They must now fed 
very foolish, these gentlemen who mocked Germany when she thought 
guns more important than butter. . . . They begin to understand that 
if you have guns the rest follows, that we in Germany will have more 
butter as it begins to disappear from the tables of the Western Powers. 

SATURDAY, MAY 18. 

GERMAN RADIO (at 6 a.m.) : German troops have overrun the exception- 
ally strong Meuse line of fortifications on which the enemy placed 
especial reliance. These fortifications were reinforced so strongly by 
natural obstacles of the terrain that the enemy's hope of delaying the 
German advance seemed here at least likely to be justified. 

RADIO PARIS (at 6.30 a.m.) : Certain strategic withdrawals have been 
necessary, but brilliant counter-attacks have been successful at many 
points. . . . The withdrawal of Allied troops may be disconcerting, 
but it must be remembered that these movements were dictated by 
strategic motives and were not in consequence of defeat by the 
enemy. ... 

All petrol dumps have been destroyed, and there is a possibility that 
the German tanks, which use great quantities of petrol, may be useless 
if they penetrate too far from the German main columns. . . . 

It is proved that the Germans have been compelled to use very 
inferior metals in the construction of their planes. 

GERMAN RADIO (to England) : Whether the attempt to invade England is 
to be made before or after Paris is captured is difficult to predict. 

(To the home public) : In the French armament industry the twelve- 
hour day is to be introduced immediately. The industry must also 
work on Sundays. It is not long ago that Germany was accused of 
weakness when a holiday was occasionally declared a working day. 
Now the Western Powers see themselves compelled to introduce the 
measures they condemned. It will be too late. 

BELGIAN RADIO (from Lille at 3.5 p.m.) : Belgian troops have checked 
enemy attacks at various parts of die front. In Antwerp Province par- 
ticularly the German attempts to advance have been repulsed with 
considerable losses. 



POLITICAL WARFARE DOCUMENTARY 119 

GERMAN RADIO (at 9 p.m.) : The Swastika flies on the tower of Antwerp ! 
This announcement reveals to the world the enormous significance of 
the successes achieved to date by the German advance in Belgium. 
With the fall of Antwerp Belgium's strongest line of fortifications fell 
completely and for good. From Narvik to the coast of South Africa the 
bow of the German war effort is now stretched I 
Brussels Radio is now hooked up with the German Radio, 

FRENCH RADIO (to Austria at 9.15 p.m.} : It is already clear that Hitler's 
Blitzkrieg has failed, whatever the eventual front line may be. Since 
decisive success has not been achieved, a new phase now begins, the 
war of duration so much dreaded by the German High Command. This 
will enable the blockade to tell fully on Germany. 

GERMAN RADIO (to England at 9.15 p.m.) : England now has to face the 
attacks of an army backed by eighty million Germans. Under the blows 
of this army the French are in retreat everywhere. Attacked by every 
known and unknown weapon, France is already in dire straits and unable 
to pull the chestnuts out of die fire for you. * 

FRENCH RADIO (to Austria at 9.20 p.m.) : Already during the first phase of 
the struggle which is now drawing to a dose it has turned out that 
German tanks are partly made of inferior substitute materials. The 
Germans now need to make large replacements, but they lack the 
required materials. 

(Reynaud speaking from Radio Paris to France, Algeria, and relayed by 
all networks in the United States) : Here then are the decisions I have 
just taken. The conqueror of Verdun, thanks to whom the aggressors 
of 1916 did not pass, thanks to whom the morale of the French Army 
in 1917 was strengthened for victory- Marshal P&ain returned this 
morning from Madrid, where he has rendered so many great services 
on behalf of France. From now on he will be Minister of State in the 
capacity of Vice-President of the Council, devoting all his wisdom and 
strength to the defence of the country. He will remain until victory ! 

SUNDAY, MAY 19. 

GERMAN RADIO (in Flemish to Flanders at 10.30 a.m.) : Great activity pre- 
vails at Bordeaux where hasty preparations are being made for the 
reception of the French Government. Gold is being hurriedly shipped 
from France to New York. 

(To the German home public) : We are now speaking from Antwerp 
Market Place, the Great Market, as it is called* We did not have to 
wait till a bridge was constructed, because our skilled pioneers had 
found six large tugs at another point on the canal, had lashed them 
together and thus made an auxiliary bridge over which our vehicles 
could pass. ... 

The town of Brussels is in our hands. ... In the court of the 



no VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

historic Town Hall the General of an Army Corps has arrived with 
his suite. Officers are lined up. The Lord Mayor comes out of the 
Town Hall. 

(The German General speaks) : My Lord Mayor, the events of the 
last few days have shown that the German armed forces are able to 
break every resistance. The population in the parts of Belgium we have 
already occupied have understood this and shown a dignified attitude* 
The Mayor answers, in French, that he has listened to the General's 
statement with deep emotion, and will fulfil his duties loyally. 

German General : I thank you, my Lord Mayor. The temporary 
commander of the city is Colonel . 

German Announcer : This ends the ceremony of handing over 
Brussels to the German Command. 

(Bremen in French for Flanders) : Flemish soldiers, we address you ! 
We address you, women of Flanders, mothers of innocent children, 
whose husbands, sons and brothers sacrifice themselves for their 
country in order to free it from the plutocratic system. ... Do not 
despair. . . . Follow the example of your Dutch brothers ! There 
is still a chance to save Belgium ! 

RADIO PARIS (at 7.30 p.m.) : Time is undeniably on the side of the Allies. 
The Germans will very soon exhaust their supplies and it will become 
more and more difficult, in view of the blockade, to replenish them. . . . 
The situation in the north of France is showing comforting signs. 

GERMAN RADIO (in French to France at 10.15 P- m -) * Holland has become 
an aerial base. ... In Belgium the German advance is proceeding at 
an almost incredible speed. The fall of Lidge after only four days' 
siege proves that what was hitherto considered an impregnable position 
is helpless against the Luftwaffe. . . . The German forces have 
crossed the Albert Canal. 

MONDAY, MAY 20. 

RADIO PARIS (at 6.30 a.m.) : A parachutist must not be attacked indis- 
criminately when he lands. Always act with coolness and judgment. 
When two, three or even four men land from the same plane, you must 
look carefully to see if it is crashing. Make certain whether it is an 
Allied or an enemy machine. When they have been rounded up, make 
a careful investigation of their identity. If ten or more land at the 
same time, take immediate steps to attack them according to the local 
means at your disposal 

GERMAN RADIO : Now, after the capture of Namur, we are at Fleurus in 

a small convent abandoned by its nuns. The Mayor is going to tell us 

about die devastations carried out in the Chateau de Paix. 

The Mayor is interviewed with the help of an interpreter whose translation 

is scrupulously correct. The Moroccans, he explains, spent a day 



POLITICAL WARFARE DOCUMENTARY wi 

and a half in the Chdteau de Prix. They left an Thursday after- 
noon. When the Germans arrived they asked Urn to inspect the 
damage. Afterwards he came back and found German troops had 
as far as possible put everything in order. 

GERMAN RADIO (in Flemish to Holland and Belgium) : Flemings, England 
and France dragged Norway into the war, and have forsaken her after 
a fortnight. Now it is the turn of Holland and Belgium. . . . Think 
of the fate of Poland and Norway. If you would save yourselves, throw 
down your arms ! 

Near Emmerich, on the German-Dutch frontier, a hospital was the 
target of British planes. . . . 

RADIO PARIS (at 7.30 p.m.) : In Belgium the strategic movements of 
withdrawal continue in entirely satisfactory conditions. To the east 
and south of Cambrai fighting continues. The enemy has been unable 
to make the slightest progress. If, further south, the enemy push 
continues, all attacks on the remainder of the front from Rethel to 
Montmdy have been repulsed. On the Maginot Line there is nothing 
to report. 

GERMAN-CONTROLLED BRUSSELS (to France and Belgium at 7.35 p.m.) : But 
what has happened ? Antwerp and Brussels have fallen, Liige and 
Namur are surrounded, the Germans have advanced well into northern 
France. 

We are not trying to crow over you. This is the fault of your 
politicians who dragged you into the wake of accursed England. 

English detachments holding part of the Maginot Line withdrew 
from their positions so rapidly that the population of Lorraine demon- 
strated against them. 

FRENCH RADIO (to Austria at 9.15 p.m.) : For the first time the French 
have brought up heavy tanks which are a full match for the heaviest 
Cxerman tanks. 

LA Voix DE LA PAIX (German " secret Freedom Station " broadcasting in 
French to an imaginary Fifth Column inside France) : The Officers who 
have received our instructions personally and in whom we have complete 
confidence must observe their instructions to the letter. Soldiers who 
are still in towns not occupied by the Germans should make sure that 
the name of everyone opposed to our movement is reported to the chiefs 
of groups. Anyone pretending to act for our movement but unable 
to produce our official identification card should be handed over to the 
chief of the group. All chiefs of groups have constantly to be on the 
alert and ready to execute Order No. 202d as soon as instructions are 
given. 

We held yesterday, at twenty-four hours' notice, a huge meeting 
somewhere in France. The patriots of the National Revolution have 
made a grave decision. Our movement will shrink from nothing to 
establish peace. (The first hint that Reynaud should be assassinated) 



122 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

Moscow (detach&Uy> to France}: Balzac was appreciated in Russia 
between 1830 and 1840, long before he won fame in his native country. 
Gorki wrote that the celebrated French writer had a deep influence on 
him. In Soviet Russia he is more appreciated than ever. 

TUESDAY, MAY 21. 

The British are now cut off from the main French 
armies by an armoured thrust to the Channel 
from between Anas and Amiens. 

GERMAN RADIO (to France at 8 a.m.) : People of France, cease thinking the 
world is with you ! It is overwhelmingly ours ! Germany alone has 
innumerable allies ! Only the dead are with England living on the 
sweat of her victims, she sees them rise in multitudes against her. 

Those victims of England, they are coming towards .yew, for the secret 
weapon is perhaps no thing else than the ghosts of the dead. The ghosts 
of tens of millions of Chinese who died from the opium England forced on 
China to enrich her capitalists, the ghosts of the wretched Boers, of the 
women and children erected by their soldiers into a living shield when 
they went to hunt for gold, the ghosts of Austrian and German children 
who died under their pitiless blockade. Here are the ghosts of the Poles. 
Their voices cry : " Treason ! Treason ! You led us to death ! " 
Here are the ghosts of the Dutch, the Norwegians, who believed their 
vain promises. Here at last come the ghosts of your own husbands and 
your sons, your brothers, who fight for England They have risen from 
the ground pn which they fell ! They are on the march ! They are 
here! 

Look at your doors -look ! They are coming in ! 

(To the home public at 5.30 p.m.) : We are now in Amsterdam. In 
front of the Royal Palace there is a veritable concert of bicycle bells, 
and the cyclists perform amazing acrobatics in the traffic. Two women 
kiss each other as they pass by without getting off. ... In the spring 
sunlight the town looks as if it were new. 

We go on to Haarlem, where the people greet us as old friends. . . . 
We reach the Hague, but have no time to look at the many buildings, 
because we are making for the sea. Here German and Dutch soldiers 
are on the shore. . . . Only now do the Dutch soldiers fed free and 
safe. They know that over there in England lives the enemy of the world. 

(To England): This morning's French Army Report does not 
contain even the slightest reference to the tremendous events of yester- 
day. " ... in spite of the great fighting activities, no essential changes 
took place during the night between the Somme and Cambrai. . . ." 
Not a word of the terrific German break-through. "No essential 
changes ! " What changes, then, must the German Army bring about 
for the French Army Report to consider them worth mentioning ? 



POLITICAL WARFARE DOCUMENTARY 123 

RADIO PARIS (Paul Reynaud speaking in a lifeless voice to the Senate at 
7. 30 p.m.}: The nation is in danger. The first duty of the Government 
is to tell the truth to the Senate and to the country concerning military 
events, . . . The truth is that our classical conception of the conduct 
of war has come up against a new conception. . . . If tomorrow I was 
told that only a miracle could save France, I would say I believe in 
miracles, because I believe in France. 

Three weeks later in the Limoges central post office a tooman " with crazy 
eyes " grasped Arthur Koestlefs arm and " shook it as if trying to 
tear it out. ' Monsieur, monsieur,' she shouted, ' the Russians have 
declared war on Germany. Cest le miracle -at last the miracle has 
come ! ' " 

WEDNESDA Y, MA Y 22. 

RADIO PARIS (at 6.30 a..) : It is quite possible that if the heavy rainstorms 
that fell on Paris during the night, fall in the north and north-east, a 
new element will modify the aspect of the fighting. 
Overnight, Radio Luxembourg has been hooked up with the German 
Radio. 

GERMAN RADIO (to France): French guns are powerless before the 
German mobile fortresses. 

RADIO PARIS : Between May n and 20 the Belgian counter-espionage 
service has arrested more than two hundred German spies. Some of 
these agents had given the enemy information concerning the French 
anti-tank obstacles in the Ardennes. 

GERMAN RADIO (to Belgium) : Walloons, Reynaud has said that only a 
miracle can save France . . . the English think only of saving their 
skins and are fleeing in disorder to the Channel. 

RADIO PARIS (at 6.30 p.m.} : The news that Arras is again in our hands 
has created % a deep impression in London. The German push is now 
being threatened from the rear. 

(At 8.30 p.m.} : The Minister of Public Works announces that owing 
to the overflow of luggage on railways, personal baggage will be limited 
to forty kilograms per person holding a railway ticket. 

(To Austria at 9.15 p.m.) : Many people are leaving Paris* German 
propaganda harps on this plain and simple fact, though the people are 
mostly refugees from northern France passing through the capital. 
German talk about hunger and despair in Paris is absurd. Confidence 
prevails and the transport of refugees proceeds smoothly. Long 
trains with restaurant and sleeping-cars are available. There is no 
panic. 

A taxi-driver remarked today while driving across the Champs 
Elysies : " Look at all the young women in the cafts ! It's as if there 
was no war on ! " 



124 ' VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

GERMAN RADIO (" secret British " station at 9.30 p.m. to England) : If we 
ate correctly informedand we don't stake our reputation oa this 
particular source negotiations have already been started between 
representatives of the German Foreign Office and prominent French 
politicians outside the Government. 

THURSDAY, MAY 23. 

FRENCH RADIO (to Austria at 9.15 p.m.) : The battle in northern France 
will not decide the result of the war. If the Germans cannot penetrate 
the interior, they will not reach a decision. They will only exhaust 
their supplies and reserves. 

FRIDAY, MAY 24. 

RADIO PARIS (at 11.45 a.m.) : In Flanders and north-west France the 

situation, although dangerous for us, is distinctly more so for the 

Germans. 

GERMAN RADIO (from Brussels and Luxembourg to France) : The Western 
Powers, in the catastrophic position in which they find themselves, lie 
and keep on lying. 

RADIO PARIS : It is the duty of citizens to report all suspects. Children 
should wear labels attached to their clothing to aid identification. 

GERMAN RADIO (from Brussels to France) : Liberty, O Liberty 1 You 
lose the right to speak your mind, to assemble in the street, to drink 
alcohol, to travel, to dispose of your goods, and in the name of that 
liberty you have to die. Poor people, cannot you see how you are being 
tricked? Either you are fighting for liberty or you are not. If you are, 
then why is your liberty taken away from you ? If you are not, you must 
be fighting for something quite different. 

RADIO PARIS (at 12.30 p.m.) : In Flanders the battle proceeds with the 
same violence, but discretion is essential and one cannot foresee the 
outcome. Yesterday and last night violent fighting took place in the 
Arras, Cambrai and Valenciennes region. From south of Arras to the 
Somme, German motorized units are still passing through the breach 
towards the north-west. Only light elements are taking part, and their 
importance must not be exaggerated. When the time comes they can 
definitely be neutralized. 

(At 10.15 p.m.) : Yesterday, in all probability, was the turning-point 
of die battlfc. From now on everything will be different, as infantry 
will play a big part 

GERMAN RADIO (to home public at 6 p.m.) : Only a few enemy soldiers 
are on the road to the Ruhr. They are prisoners. They pass along 
roads of horror and despair. While yesterday we reported events in 
the area of Maubeuge and Valenciennes, today we drive on over terror- 
stridden routes in the district of Laon, Cambrai and St. Quentin. . . . 



POLITICAL WARFARE DOCUMENTARY 125 

We see the wreckage of a smashed army destroyed tanks, human beings, 
animals. Here were enormous masses of troops attempting to withstand 
our advance to the coast. . . . They marched directly into the cannon 
of our tanks. Most of their vehicles have their noses turned towards 
the east : they were still advancing when smashed. A few tried to 
escape along side routes. All were destroyed by our tanks. 

SATURDAY, MAY 25. 

RADIO PARIS : Last night Allied troops succeeded in driving the Germans 
out of the main parts of Boulogne. 

SUNDAY, MAY 26. 

GERMAN RADIO : The occupation of the Channel port of Boulogne, the 
encirclement of Calais and the bombing of Dunkirk, Ostend and 
Zeebrugge are featured by the neutral press. 

RADIO PARIS : The enemy has made several attacks on our northern front. 
These attacks have failed. 

GERMAN RADIO (to France) : France has been deluded for years, and the 
delusion has become pathetic in the past months. 

(In Flemish to Belgium) : In present circumstances (when German 
military movements would be impeded) to flee means to commit suicide. 
From a great height our aviators cannot distinguish between refugees 
and enemy troops. To leave your towns and villages brings you into 
the greatest danger. 

MONDAY, MAY 27. 

GERMAN RADIO : Calais is in German hands. What did not succeed in 
the Great War has succeeded now. At that time Foch said : "Whoever 
holds Calais has the key to the door of England and France ". 

. . . Duff Cooper, who boasts of knowing French as well as a born 
Frenchman, went before the microphone last night to give the French 
the supreme pleasure of hearing him. ... He now insists on his wish 
for peace, but the peace he has in mind is to be enjoyed by England, 
while others are to fight and be pushed into misfortune. 

(In Flemish to Belgian soldiers) : Flemish soldiers, the position of 
the Allied army of which you form part and which is surrounded in 
Flanders, is hopeless. . . . The capture of the Channel ports means 
the defeat of England and the end of the war. . . . Serve your own 
interests and refuse to figfct. 

(In French to France) : From neutral sources it is learned that there 
is a serious panic among the French population in the Midi. 

(In Dutch to Holland) : Germans are now standing at the gates of 
England. Dover is only twenty-one miles away, and therefore within 
range of German guns. 



126 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

TUESDAY, MAY 28. 

Belgian resistance is ended by King Leopold at 
four in the morning. 

GERMAN RADIO (in Flemish to Belgium) : Flemish listeners ! After your 

. heroic struggle, you have been liberated today. The wise decision of 

your King has made you free. . . . You have not suffered defeat. On 

the contrary, you have conquered conquered the dark powers that 

brought you to the end of the precipice. You have conquered decades 

. of propaganda. 

(Brussels to France) : Now the English are calling you to their 
aid. Now you have lost your Dutch and Belgian allies. You have 
lost a fifth of your effective troops and still more of your modern 
war material ... If you want to continue the fight it will mean 
horrible slaughter ending in the destruction of France and the French 
people. 

(To Belgium) : Our German documentary pictures which will be 
shown from tomorrow in your towns will give you the truth which was 
intentionally concealed from you. They will show . . . that no country 
is able to resist the power of German arms. 

WEDNESDA Y 9 MA Y 29. 

GERMAN RADIO : On Monday a civilian standing alone on a hill near 
Bruchsal was machine-gunned by a French aeroplane although he 
committed no hostile act. This means that France wages war against 
defenceless civilians. 

RADIO PARIS : The Franco-British armies in the north are without doubt 
in such a critical situation that one can well believe that nothing will be 
neglected to re-establish an effective line of defence. 

THURSDAY, MAY 30. 

The evacuation from Dunkirk begins. 

RADIO PARIS: Nevertheless there is no room for pessimism, as, in 
spite of weighty efforts by the Germans, the situation has become 
no worse. 

FRIDAY, MAY 31. 

GERMAN RADIO ("secret British station" in English to England): The 
Fifth. Column in England is working day and night, and anwg the 
64*000 persons of German and Austrian nationality who are at liberty 
on our English soil there is a powerful nucleus for the kind of work 
undertaken by the Fifth Column. 



POLITICAL WARFARE DOCUMENTARY 127 

RADIO PARIS : A despatch from London gives an account of the French 
and English soldiers who have just reached England from the Channel 
coast in France. All declare themselves convinced that the Germans 
will crack. 

Moscow (detachedly, to France} : The Education Budget in the U.S.S.R. 
proves there is not a single district which fails to show progress in public 
instruction and culture. While Russia is providing larger sums for 
education, capitalist countries are increasing their war expenses. In 
America, schools are closing down. 

SATURDAY, JUNE I. 

RADIO PARIS: The Allied position (at Dunkirk) is very much more 
assured and is being fully protected and provisioned by the Navy. . . . 
Yesterday's enemy attacks on the Somme front have been completely 
beaten back. 

(In German to Austria) : Without interruption the B.E.F. is arriving 
in England from Flanders. After a few days' leave the troops will 
return to their duties at the front. 

During the last three weeks the war has assumed the character of a 
battle of material. . . . Soon Germany will be unable to continue. 
GERMAN RADIO (to France) : It is alleged that Germany's oil supply will 
not last out another two months. The question of oil amuses us very 
much. 

SUNDAY, JUNE 2. 

GERMAN RADIO (to home public) : On the road to Boulogne a group of 
captured soldiers were resting. They sat on cases of ammunition 
their own. They said : " We didn't know how horrible the German 
tanks were and how terrible the dive-bombers are. We have been 
deceived." 

Yes, they have been deceived ! And they didn't know that on the 
same day .Germany achieved another victory Calais was taken, ... A 
captured French officer was sent to the British commander to ask for 
his surrender and to threaten bombardment by all available arms. .The 
reply was : " No. It is the duty of the British Army to fight just as. it 
is th$ duty of the German Army." This answer was very soldierly, but 
also very brutal, because it paid no regard to the French population. 

(To France) : The irresistible advance of the German armies has 
proceeded exactly according to plan. The French and English armies 
defending Flanders have been decimated and their fleeing remnants 
mercilessly bombed. ... 

The English troops have got out of Belgium and have left the French 
alone to face the might of Germany. The Daily Telegraph goes so far as 
to say that French strategy must now turn from the defensive to the 
offensive. 



128 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 



(TOUCAN RADIO (to horn public): It i* impossible to give an accurate 
pictutfe of the destruction in Rotterdam! What an enormous power 
murt lie in German bombs ! But life still continued alongside the debris 
and the mass cemetery. Quite near us was a big caft and in front of 
tbe window was a poster : CONCERT AND DANCE. People passing by 
did not took embittered. Their faces were indifferent or even cheerful. 
They seemed to be glad they had escaped the terrible fete of being 
buried under the debris. It was difficult to find our way into the town 
as all the streets were blocked by ruins. 

Then we met a worker. He gave us a friendly look and said he was 
going the same way. ... He led us through the city. We filled up 
our petrol tank somewhere and then we played some music from our 
loudspeaker. Another worker listened attentively and offered us a 
cigarette. 

People here are not embittered against the Germans. . . . 

RADIO PARIS (at 7.30 p.m.) : German aircraft attempted to bomb Paris and 
die surrounding region between 1.20 and 2.15. Our fighters quickly 
went to the attack. You will understand that for strategic reasons it is 
impossible to give you even the smallest detail of the results of this 
enemy raid. 

TUESDAY, JUNE 4. 

RADIO PARIS (at 7.30 p.m.) : An incident which may possibly throw a 
certain light on Italy's forthcoming attitude is die announcement that 
the Italian liner Rex is posted to sail from Italy for New York on 
June 20 and there will be further sailings on June 27 and as late 
as July 13. 

GERMAN RADIO (to France at 8.15 p.m.) : The Germans have started 
attack the Fortress of Paris from the air. 
(At 9.15 p.m.) : Dunkirk has fallen. 

(To home public at 10.30 p.m., a Sondermcldung) : The great struggle 
in Flanders and Artois is over. It will be recorded in war history as the 
greatest batde of annihilation of all times. 

Traditional Dutch Hymn of Thanksgiving. (Chorus and Organ.) 

Dtutschland tiber AIUs. (Haydn.) 

Three minutes' silence. 

The Heavens Praise the Glory of the Lord. (Beethoven.) 

The Watch on the Rhine. (Karl Wilhelm.) 

The Song of the Parachutists. 

Germany's Honour Upheld. 

Solemn Praeludium. (Richard Strauss.) 

fiMbm of The Watch on the Rhine. (Karl Wilhclm.) 

Repetition of the Sondermeldung. 




BRUSSELS TOWN HALL FRONT REPORT OF MAY 19, 1940 

a*,***] . \Air T n~A \A*,r~- .U, ~,,~~+~ ~f *1 1 4. f J 1 ! *U~. * 




A GERMAN ARMS WORKER FOLLOWS THE DRIVE INTO FRANCE 



POLITICAL WARFARE DOCUMENTARY 



II. THE SURRENDER OF PARIS 

After a, pause* the Germans drive south towards 
Paris on a i$o-mle front. 

THURSDAY, JUNE 6. 

GERMAN RADIO (to England) : The announcement published by the 
French press that all Paris schools will dose on Saturday is interpreted 
in Geneva as the first step towards total evacuation of the French 
capital. 

(To France at 12.45 p.m.) : Large numbers of cars filled with 
refugees have arrived in San Sebastian, Spain. Spain is considered 
much safer than France. 

(At 8.15 p.m.) : A comparison of French and German news of the 
past few days shows how you Frenchmen are being gulled by the 
mendacious reports of your propaganda service under the able leadership 
of your arch-fabricator, Frossard. . . . 

(At 9.15 p.m.) : Do not believe in British help. The British have 
withdrawn to their island, abandoning you to your fate, and the only 
.miracle which could still take place is the end of the massacre and the 
conclusion of an immediate peace. . . . 

(At 10.15 P* m O : Can 7 u n t understand that nobody can produce 
the miracle you are so fondly hoping for? A Clemenccau, a Foch, even 
Napoleon, could not accomplish it. 

(To home public) : A cameraman who took part in a dive-bombing 
attack has been awarded the Iron Cross. . . . From the back of the 
plane he saw a most gruesome picture. The bombs exploded after sift, 
seconds. Plate armour flew into the air and the whole picture was 
incredible. This picture you will see next week in your cinema. 

FRIDAY, JUNE 7. 

GERMAN RADIO (to home public) : No more of the enemy remain under 
arms in Flanders, and now the German Kghmyng attack is being directed 
against the Southern front. 

Before us we see the wooded hills and meadows. It is early morning. 
The German artillery begins to attack. (The sound of firing is heard m 
the background.) German guns are firing at the heights. We can see 
with the naked eye how hits are scored as smoke rises again and again. 
Everywhere there are German hits* Now the infantry goes forward 
under cover of die artillery. Soon our tanks will move into die 
attack. 
9 



*$o VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

. . . On the roads men of all ages, women and children, stream 
along in a pitiful condition, mostly short of food unless they have 
already come across German troops* These poor people left their 
villages and hamlets because of die terror propaganda drummed into 
their ears about the alleged cruel treatment which would be meted out 
to them by German troops. 

(To France at 12.45 P* m O : &ench listeners, the new offensive has 
started, and the blood begins to flow again. 

(At 8.15 p.m.) : The English have left France and now she stands 
alone against the Germans. Many of your soldiers have been killed, 
have been wounded, are missing. If you continue to fight, this will go 
on. It is for you to decide 1 

(At 9.15 p.m.) : Is not an honourable peace better than the destruc- * 
tion of men and property ? 

(At 10.15 p.m.) : The German armies are continuing their triumph- 
ant way through your country ! Your Maginot Line has been turned ! 
Your Army has been outflanked ! The German Army, is irresistible ! 
The fetal hour has sounded and all you can do to prevent your country's 
final ggOny is to give in ! 

Voix DB LA PAIX (German " secret French station " at 8.44 p.m.) : The 
Committee of Public Safety constituted by comrades versed in all technical 
questions of organization and administration of a centre such as Paris, 
will be responsible for sparing the town the horrors of war. They will 
negotiate with the chiefs of the German Army and will watch over the 
functioning of public services, supplies for the non-evacuated population, 
and the maintenance of order. 

1&9&L DE LA FRANCE (German " French revolutionary station ", at 9.34 
p.m.) : We appeal to all our friends to prevent the present members of 
the Government fleeing the country. 

Vonc DE LA PAIX (at $.50) : The French Army consisted on May 12 
of ninety-seven divisions. It has lost thirty-seven. The Germans 
have one hundred and eighty divisions, or three against one. The 
French Army has been beaten at every point and is fleeing. The 
left wing of the German Army is marching on Le Havre and 
Rouen. The right wing is driving on Paris, only fifty-six miles 
uway. 

SATURDAY, JUNE 8. 

RADIO PARIS (at 6.30 a.m.) : The Committee of Ex-Servicemen and 
Pensioners announces : " In reply to the methods of fighting adopted 
by an unscrupulous enemy, Paris appeals to Ex-Servicemen ! Those 
Who can still serve and who are owners of a car or a mo tor-cycle arc in 
iuty bound to respond to this appeal and to join formations of Territorial 



POLITICAL WARFARE DOCUMENTARY 131 

" We left the peaceful shadow of the church tower to go and watch the 

mad* disordered tide of refugees flow past along the roads," a 

correspondent wrote later to le Temps* " Then me went back to 

the house and switched on the radio. Aux Armes, Citoycns ! 

those six notes of the Marseillaise were being used as the listening 

. signal. No death^kneU could have sounded sadder 9 nwre distressing. 99 

(At 1.30 p.m.) : Enemy dements, reported last night towards the 

valley of the upper Bresle, have accentuated their progress. The advance 

detachments have reached Forges-les-Eaux (sixty miles from Paris). 

The situation remains the same on all the rest of the front. 

Voix DE LA PAR (now on medium as well as short waves) : Our armies in 
Flanders have been annihilated and innumerable enemy divisions are 
striking at the Weygand Lineat our door. Our government of traitors 
has brought this about ; they make us fight against an immeasurable 
superiority of men and material. 

Our soldiers have been able to estimate the quality of our war 
material, especially our tanks. Instead of being solidly built and 
armoured by steel capable of resisting every impact, they were nailed 
to the spot as soon as they met the first shock. 

(At 9 p.m.) : The enemy is continuing his offensive with crushing 
superiority on all fronts from Rheims to the Channel. German 
motorized divisions have reached Dieppe. 

SUNDAY, JUNE 9. 

RADIO PARIS : The B.B.C. announced yesterday that ten new divisions 
have finished their training in Great Britain. During the past few days 
they have received all their equipment. These divisions are ready for 
the struggle. 

GERMAN RADIO (to France) : The B.B.C. announced yesterday that sport 
was being carried on in spite of the war. It is needless to add that this 
was not broadcast to France. 

MONDAY, JUNE 10. 

The German advance crosses the Somme and 
the Aisne. 

RADIO ROME (Mussolini from the Palazzo Venezia at 6 p.m. The roars 
of the crowd and the quick rise and fall of the cry " Duce ! Duce ! " 
match the bombast of his delivery.) : The hour marked with the seal 
of destiny has struck, the hour of irrevocable decisions i Our declara- 
tion of war has been handed to the Ambassadors of Britain and 
France ! . . . This gigantic struggle is the struggle of peoples poor 
but rich in workers against the exploiters* It is the struggle of the 
fruitful and young peoples against the sterile peoples on the threshold 
of their decline. 



VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

RADIO PARIS (Patd Reynaud) : How shall we judge this act ? France has 
nothing to say . The world which is looking on will pass judgment. 

(By cable to President Roosevelt) : The enemy is almost at the gates 
of Paris. We shall fight before Paris, fight behind Paris, shut ourselves 
up in one of our provinces, and if they drive us out, go to North Africa, 
and if necessary, to our American possessions. Part of the Government 
have already left Paris. I myself am preparing to go with the Army. 

Voix DE LA PAIX (at 9.45 p.m.) La Voix de la Paix has never published 
false news. ... All Paris is threatened with poisoning because Fifth 
Columnists have succeeded in poisoning several reservoirs of drinking 
water. ... Is Paris to be another Warsaw, or is it to be a Brussels ? 
We must save Paris as Brussels was saved. Must we see our capital 
destroyed, Notre Dame, Sainte Chapelle, the Louvre in ruins, and the 
blood of our women and children flowing along the pavements ? 

* 

TUESDAY, JUNE n. 

GERMAN RADIO : The French Government has fled from Paris, as can be 
seen from the official Paris announcement which calls the flight " the 
transfer of officials from Paris, carried out according to pre-arranged 
plans". 

In many sectors the battle has ended with complete encirclement of 
the French armies. French resistance is becoming increasingly feeble. 

(To France) : Frenchmen, are you still waiting for the English ? 

Voix DE LA PAIX : The departure of the Government for Angouleme or 
Bordeaux nobody knows exactly where and the news that the 
Germans have reached Pontoise (nineteen miles from Paris) has created 
panic in the capital and everyone is trying to escape. 

Paris is burning. It has been continually bombed by the Germans 
with incendiary bombs. 

Water, gas, electricity supplies have been stopped. 

We were right last night to advise you Sauve qui peut ! Reynaudthe 
bandit and Mandel the murderer are fleeing along with the whole 
Government 

All is lost! 

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12. 

GERMAN RADIO (Rtveil de la France, now operating on long as well as short 
waves, at 12.30 a.m.) : Northern France is in the hands of the Nazis. 
The fall of Paris is imminent. The south of France is at the mercy of 
Mussolini, who has come in for his share of the booty. In face of all this 
Reynaud stammers a few sentences into the microphone and disappears. 

RADIO PARIS (at 6.30 a.m.) : Informed circles declare that Italy possesses 
from seventy to ninety armoured divisions, apart from a strong air force. 
All this will substantially increase the German forces* . . . 



POLITICAL WARFARE DOCUMENTARY 133 

(At 8.30 a.m.) : As already announced, the French War Ministry 

has declared that the following French provinces in the southern area 

are now war zones : the Departments of the Rhdne, Aisne, Haute-Savoie, 

' Savoie, Isire, Drdme, Hautes-Alpes, Basses- Alpes, Alpes-Maritimes, 

Var, Bouches-du-Rhdne and the French Mediterranean coast. 

GERMAN RADIO (to England at 10.15 a.m.) : The Copenhagen Berlingske 
Tidende writes that the danger which Paris is now facing can only be 
described as overwhelming. The French Army is apparently on the 
verge of a catastrophe. 

. . . Refugees have arrived (at the Swiss frontier) in a completely 
exhausted condition. They stated that complete disorganization pre- 
vailed in France, and none of them honestly believed France had the 
slightest chance of winning the war. No one in France had told them 
the news of Italy's declaration of war, and this piece of information, 
coming on top of their horrifying experiences, quite convinced them that 
final collapse was quickly approaching. 

(To the home public at 11.30 a.m.) : The population of Paris is trying 
its utmost to leave the town as quickly as possible. 

(To England at 2.15 p.m.) : The New York Daily News states that 
well-informed Americans regard it as most probable that an offer by 
France to conclude a separate peace with Germany will be the next 
spectacular event of the war. 

(At 5.15 p.m.) : Today the B.B.C. announced that Paris was being 
feverishly prepared for defence, and that every single street in the city 
was to be contested, . . . Whether true or not, Britain is rendering the 
French people a very poor service by this kind of report. 

(At 6.3 p.m. to the home public) : German troops are attacking with 
an elan which suggests it is their first battle. After crossing the Maine, 
the railway line and terminus were taken. The heights on the other 
side were occupied. 

* What a magnificent picture ! The German soldier feels that his 
advance cannot be stopped. 

RADIO ROME (to France at 7.15 p.m.) : The German forces round Sedan 
have penetrated far into Argonne. Near Montmidy German troops 
are in full advance. 

(In planless anger) : All over France and England, the entry of Italy 
into the war has synchronized with violent demonstrations against 
Italian subjects. Thousands of our countrymen have been arrested. 
In Malta, Italians have not only been arrested but placed in a concentra- 
tion camp near the harbour, the first place likely to be bombed. This is 
a flagrant example of British perfidy and treachery. 

GERMAN RADIO (at 8.15 p.m. to France) : French listeners, the hour has 
come for the people of France to lift up their voice, to go down into the 
streets and cry out aloud for peace. The situation is desperate. The 



134 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

only means of avoiding further devastation is to force your Gov 
to make peace. It is indeed a Government which no longer deserves 
any respect from you. In a cowardly manner it has left Paris, although 
it proclaimed that it would defend the city stone by stone. 

(At 9,15 p.m.) : With what do you think M. Paul Reynaud is con- 
cerned at the present moment ? The defence of Paris? The salvation 
of France ? No. Reynaud is thinlring of how to divorce his wife and 
marry his mistress ! 

Voix DE LA PAES (at 9.15 p.m.) : All workmen between the ages of sixteen 
* and sixty have received orders from the military authorities to leave 
Paris for the south of France. 

RivEEL DE LA FRANCE (at 9.30 p.m.) : It is criminal and senseless to defend 
Paris and have it destroyed. Paris must be declared an open city. The 
National Revolution will save Paris as the Belgians saved Brussels in 
spite of the murderer Reynaud. 

Von DE LA PAIX (at 9.45 p.m.) : We would rather see London destroyed. 
. . . You must die, Reynaud, because your death will give France the 
peace she needs. 

OFFICIAL GERMAN RADIO (at 10.15 P- m J : French listeners, at this very 
hour German patrols are already at the gates of the capital. Why 
expose the city of Paris, with all its memorials of a glorious past, to 
insensate destruction ? If the criminal desire of Reynaud is carried out, 
Paris will be nothing but a burning ruin. 

FRENCH RADIO (from Lyons at 10.15 />"*.) : Had the Government Depart- 
ments remained in Paris, the fact would have impaired to a considerable 
extent the possibility of manoeuvres. To prevent this, the High Com- 
mand advised the Government to leave the capital. It was not surprising 
to learn that the Government had not retired to some provincial town 
but to Headquarters. The movement was carried out without any loss 
of time or interruption of work. This is a new proof of the French 
national characteristic adaptability a new proof of the fact that 
France never loses herself, that she knows how to stand up to conditions 
always and everywhere. 

U.S.A. (National Broadcasting Corporation Fred Bate speaking from 
London at 11.15 P- m O : There are no two ways about it. Either Paris 
is to be had for nothing because die French evacuate it, or it is only 
to be had at a very high cost. The cutting-off and besieging of 
a ring-fortress the size of Paris a ring of seventy-five miles in 
circumference with the southern half of the besiegers presenting their 
backs to the French Army outside is hardly conceivable as a military 
operation. 

From the French Revolution to the tragic Commune of 1871 Paris 
has provided more examples of tough street-fighting than any city in 
the world. 



POLITICAL WARFARE DOCUMENTARY 135 

THURSDAY, JUNE 13. 

RADIO ROME (to France at 1245 a.m.) : Paris has to defend itself to the 
last and all its civilians are to be slaughtered in order that Britain may 
further delay the blow on herself. 

A crowd came to listen to the news bulletin in the Officers 9 Mess, says 
Douglas Cooper in " The Road to Bordeaux ". They wanted 
official confirmation that the position was not as critical as they 
secretly believed. 

RADIO PARIS (a* 1.30 p.m.) ; To the west of Paris another German drive 
is taking place on the Seine from Pont de PArche to Mantes. In the * 
region of Rouen the Germans have begun to send outposts towards 
the coast in the direction of Caudebec and Le Havre. ... The 
French have counter-attacked in the east and advanced five miles 
from Paris. . . . 

Normally 9 Cooper goes on, the Ministry of Information fulfilled this 
desire for reassurance admirably, but today it had a bitter blow 
for us at the very moment when the order for a new retreat had been 
given. Paris had been declared an open city. . . . It was no 
ordinary crowd of gloomy and depressed officers who left that room 
to carry on with their duties. It was a group of broken men. 

GERMAN RADIO (to home public at 6 p.m.) : We are in burning Rouen. 
We have come here with an armoured division and have now reached 
the Seine. 

It was our intention that the town should fall without a fight and 
that an emissary should be sent from our side under a white flag. But 
the French declined. (The voice drowned abruptly by the clatter of 
machine-gun fire.) 

Late in the afternoon the German High Command 
sends a radio message to the Commander in Paris 
demanding surrender y but when the German emissary 
reaches Porte St. Denis, he is fired at from a 
barricade. 

GERMAN RADIO (to France at 8.15 p.m.) : French listeners, one single week 
of the German offensive has been enough to annihilate the Weygand 
Line and bring the Germans to the gate of Paris ! You are alone and 
will remain alone. 

(At 9.15 p.m.) : If you have left any of the logic and good sense on 
which you pride yourselves so much, you will see now that the only 
course to follow is to lay down your arms. 

FRENCH RADIO (Paul Reynaud introduced by the Marseillaise): The 
heroism of Dunkirk has been exceeded in the battle raging from the 
sea to Argonne. The spirit of France is not broken. Our race does 
not allow itself to be crushed by an invasion -it has seen too many 



136 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

in past centuries. Fiance has always thrown back and defeated the 
invader. Let die world know all this, the suffering and the pride of 
France. 

France is wounded* flfid she hflf the right to turn to other democracies 
and tell them, "7*01 le droit swr vous ! We are entitled to make claims 
on you 1 " We know how important ideals are in the life of the great 
American people. Do they still hesitate to declare themselves against 
Nazi Germany ? You know I have addressed myself to President 
Roosevelt. This time I send him a new and last appeal. * . . Clouds 
of warptanes from across the Atlantic must smash die evil force which 
dominates Europe. Despite our reverses, the power of the democracies 
remains immense. We have the right to hope that the day is drawing 
near when this power will be put into action. That is why we are 
determined that France shall retain her free government, and for this 
reason we have left Paris. 

Whatever may come in the days before us, all Frenchmen, wherever 

they may be, must be prepared to suffer. Let them be worthy of our 

nation's past. Let them gather in brotherhood around their stricken 

fatherland. The day of resurrection will come. 

We listened to the hoarse loudspeaker from a radio shop in Limoges, says 

Arthur Koestler. There was a large crowd listening in petrified 

silence ; the traffic in the street was stopped. Some women cried 

noiselessly ; they had already started crying during the last bars of 

the Marseillaise before the speech ; but when the voice of the little 

man spoke the words : " Que les Fran^ais se reserrent fraternelle- 

ment autour de leur patrie blessde," several of the men around us 

joined in with the women. It was the first and last time that I have 

seen a crowd burst into tears on a political occasion. . . . 

At 11.30 p.m. the German High Command sends 
another radio message in German to the Commander 
of Paris. This time it is immediately answered in 
French. The reply states that the French Army is 
ready to hand over the capital. A meeting place 
is arranged for negotiators. 

FRIDAY, JUNE 14. 

U.S A. (Bound Brook at 4 a.m.) : Authoritative reports from Berlin of 
an impending radio ultimatum for the surrender of Paris, with the 
alternative of devastation, were followed tonight by a published report 
that the French would not defend the city from within. 

At 6 a.m. the first German reconnaissance cars 
penetrate into the capital. At 9 a.m. troops enter 
from three directions. 



POLITICAL WARFARE DOCUMENTARY 137 

Months later P. G. Wodehouse described m the German Radio how the 
troop* marched in. " AU that happened as far as I was concerned" 
he said, " was that I was strolling along with my wife when she 
lowered her voice and said, * Dorit look now, but here comes the 
German Army '. And there they were 9 a fine body of men, rather 
prettily dressed in green and carrying machine-guns." 

SATURDAY, JUNE 15. 

GERMAN RADIO (to home public at i p.m.} : Paris is the heart of France, 
the centre of her economic life, culture and political will. In a word, 
Paris is France. 

(At 4 p.m.} : No other country would be as hard hit by the loss of 
its capital as France by the loss of Paris. 

(At 5.30 p.m.) : Half of France's export trade is paralysed with 
one single blow. 

(At 7,15 p.m. to England) : The entire railway and motor-road 
systems radiate from Paris. 

South of Paris the Germans advance to the Loire 
and break up the disorganized French armies into 
isolated groups. 

FRENCH RADIO (operating on the Radio Paris wavelength from southern 
transmitters^ at 6.30 a.m.) : The French authorities appeal to the 
population to stay in their locality even if it is invaded by enemy tanks. 

(At 11.30 a.m.) : In the Paris region our troops have carried out 
the movement decided upon by the High Command in perfect order. 
In Champagne, between Troyes and St. Didier, the enemy has increased 
his pressure still further. Violent fighting is in progress. In Lorraine 
and Alsace the front and our communication lines are being violently 
bombed. 

A Paris transmitter is now hooked up with the German Radio. 

SUNDAY, JUNE 16. 

FRENCH RADIO (at 8.30 a.m.) : It is alleged that more and more troops 
coming from Russia are marching to the German-Russian frontier. 
These forces are said to constitute a Red Army Corps, with motorized 
elements, artillery and infantry. 

" This very slender hope buoys us up and restores some measure of 
confidence to us" writes Captain Barlone in "A French 
Officer's Diary." 

GERMAN RADIO (to home public from Paris at 6 p.m.) : A tall young 
Lieutenant now approaches us. Under his arm he carries a French 
Tricolour. 



138 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

The Lieutenant explains that he and Col, Paymaster Wehner had taken 
tike Tricdovr from the Eiffel Twer and hoisted the Swastika 
instead. H* and several others rode on motor bicycles at high speed 
to the foot of the Biff el Toner and broke into the entrance. They 
climbed to die top. There they stayed for half an hour untying 
the Tricolour, hoisting the Swastika and taking photograpJis. 
The announcer in the Berlin studio goes on : 

While the German troops are marching past a General on the Place de 
la Concorde 9 our advance troops have already reached the southern 
boundary, of Paris. They are marching through Paris, closely pursuing 
the enemy, who is retreating towards die Loire. 

Verdun, the fortress which was thought to be impregnable, has fallen 
into our hands. This feat of German arms is like a miracle. It was at 
Verdun that our troops fought in the last war for many long months 
and with the loss of thousands of men. The streets of Verdun are 
deserted. Blinds are drawn and doors locked. The town has suffered 
hardly any material damage. 

(At 9.15 p.m. to France) : Frenchmen, you have been deceived. 
Daladier, Reynaud, Mandel, Frossard and all their acolytes combined 
to lie to you they held your heads in the clouds and your feet in the 
mud. When things went very badly they told you they were going very 
well. What are you wailing for ? Why'not silence once and for all your 
deceitful leaders ? 

(At 10.15 p.m.) : Thanks to the energy and lightning speed of the 
German Army the Ville Lumtere has been spared a dreadful fate and is 
intact today in all its beauty. . . . German troops entered Paris when 
it had been abandoned by French troops except for isolated posts which 
were taken prisoner. Most of the population, deceived and frightened 
out of their wits by the Government, had fled. Column after column 
of refugees go forward in utter wretchedness and without knowing 
i which way to turn. 

Among the many yarns which your criminal rulers and your 
newspaper-gangsters have retailed was the one about the Fifth Column. 

FRENCH RADIO (at 10.30 p.m.) : To the south-east of Paris the enemy has 
continued his advance. 

Voix DB LA PAIX (at 10.40 p.m.) : Basle reports that German troops by 
permission of the Swiss authorities have crossed the Swiss frontier. 
The encirclement of the Maginot Line is thus complete. 

OFFICIAL GERMAN RADIO (from Holland to France) : Among the French 
who have recently arrived at Biarritz are a considerable number of 
people who usually spend June on the Riviera and who have kept their 
dc luxe automobiles for evacuation. One wonders how they can do this 
on the allowance of fifty litres of petrol a month. 

FIBNCH RADIO (from the transmitter at Rennes, at 11.30 p.m.) : The 



POLITICAL WARFARE DOCUMENTARY 139 

Rcynaud Cabinet has resigned. Marshal PdQun has been requested to 
form a new Government. Weygand has been asked to be Vicc-President 
Here are some names among the new Ministers : Marine* Admiral 
Jean Dorian; Justice, M. Pierre Laval ; Foreign Affairs, M . Baudown. 

(To Germany from Lyons at midnight) : The population of Paris is 
streaming over tie roads of France. Women and children, factory 
workers in overalls, have left their places of work in the munition 
factories at the last moment. Many have abandoned all their worldly 
possessions and have saved nothing except what they have on. They 
are near complete exhaustion. If the liars of the German Radio could 
only see the faces of the French men and women streaming out of Paris, 
if only they could listen to what they say and experience the superb 
atmosphere of brotherhood, they would be the first to blush at their own 
lies. The French people was never greater nor more faithful to its heroic 
traditions. 

MONDAY, JUNE 17. 

FRENCH RADIO (from Rennes at 6.30 p.m.) : Paris remains calm under 
German occupation. The monuments are intact. The capital has not 
suffered materially. . . . 

At 12.31 p.m. Marshal Pltain speaks. His voice is thin and interrupted 
by dry coughs. Listeners in France were struck by a quality of 
ghostUness about it. " We listened to the cold 9 quivering tones of a 
tired old man." 

Frenchmen ! At the request of President Lebrun, President of the 
Republic, as from today I assume the direction of the French Republic. 
(He was sure, he said 9 of the support of the armed forces arid civilian public^ 
but there was a strange streak of vanity about his claim 9 which became strik- 
ing at the phrase y " / give France the gift of my person to mitigate her 
misfortune ".) It is with a heavy heart that I must tell you : " // 
faut cesser le combat". I have appealed in the past night to our 
adversary, asking hfar whether he is ready to discuss with me honourably, 
as between soldiers, the means to end hostilities. 
The Marseillaise was played. 

" The crowd in the restaurant was dumbfounded" says Douglas Cooper, . 
" Critical as the situation was 9 no one had expected this blow. They 
did not know whether to stand on their feet while the National 
Anthem was being played or remain seated." " Tears came into 
our eyes and rolled down our cheeks" says Somerset Maugham, 
who was listening in his Riviera villa. " Several officers weep 
bitterly," writes Captain Barlone in " A French Officer's Diary.*' 
" Others remain indifferent as if struck dumb by the disaster" 

The German propaganda machine had reached its highest momentum 
and seemed unable 'to stop. Submission had not been expected so 



140 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

$oon> and demands to surrender continued until 10.15 in the evening, 
only ike tone was still wore confident. 

GERMAN RADIO (to France) : You need sleep and rest. Fresh German 
troops are continually subjecting you to exhausting battles. There is 
no respite. . . . The Reich, which has no intention of repaying you 
for your malice, will leave you a place in the sun. Hitler does not require 
a super- Versailles. But patience has a limit. Do not wait till his has 
expired. (And in a different tone) : Your weakness has shocked the 
entire world. From now on, every day which passes when you do not 
ask for peace is a sin against France. The burden of sin is getting 
very heavy. Take care ! 

RivBiL DE LA FRANCE (at 9.30 p.m.) : Reynaud, you have reached Bordeaux 
where you wait for a passage to Mexico. But it is not enough that you 
should disappear from the political scene. You must die ! 

OFFICIAL GERMAN RADIO (to Holland at 10.30 p.m.) : Berlin is still 
beflagged in celebration of the fall of Paris. In the Friedrichstrasse a 
bus goes by packed with people. A pot-bellied little gentleman calls 
out : " Everybody get out ! There's a Sondermeldtmg \ " At last the 
voice of the announcer is heard saying : " France has laid down her 
arms." Dead silence follows. Then the National Anxhem, DeutscUand 
iiber Alles, is struck up. 

(To the home public) : The pursuit has been carried out at such speed 
that the French simply cannot understand the sudden appearance of 
German troops. They have taken them for English soldiers. They , 
thought the English had come to the assistance of the French! A civilian 
showed one of our lancers his military pass. "Yes, I'm in civilian dress 
at die moment," he said, " but the truth is I'm a soldier and could join 
you and help." When he was told they were Germans, he simply did 
not believe it. 

B.B.C. (to France answering Pttain at 10 p.m.) : An offer to conclude a 
solemn act of union between the two countries was made by the British 
Government to France on Sunday when M. Reynaud was still Prime 
Minister. That is what Churchill revealed tonight. 

" I grieve for the gallant French people who have fallen into this 
terrible misfortune," he said. " Nothing will alter our feelings towards 
them, or our faith that the genius of France will rise again. What has 
happened makes no difference to British faith and purpose. We have 
become the sole champions now in arms to defend the world cause. 
We shall do our best to be worthy of that high honour. We shall fight 
on unconquerable until the curse of Hitler is lifted from the brows of 

,1, -,i 99 

men. 

A working woman wrote to the B.B.C. from Hfrault : " When at 12.30 
Marshal Pttain told us he was going to try and put an end to the 
struggle, our consternation was unbounded. I could not admit 
that it was so. All afternoon I remained in a state of stupefaction. 



POLITICAL WARFARE DOCUMENTARY 141 

But in the evening when I heard your voice saying that England 
would continue the fight for the liberty of France^ it was as though 
an immense weight had been lifted from my heart. And now, 
though we have to bow our necks beneath the oppressor's yoke, 
we know that it will not be far long, . . . Thank you, thank you 
in the name of France ! " 

GERMAN RADIO (to France at 10.15 /><"*) : The Fiihrcr has announced 
that he will consult with the Duce and they will inform P6tain of 
the conditions of the negotiations. . . . French people, you are nfttt so 
much conquered as the forces of evil which took refuge behind you. 
They have really lost this war. 

(To England) : Once upon a time you used to sing a song about your 
washing, which you meant to hang on the Siegfried Line. Are you, we 
wonder, still attracted by that song ? 

FRENCH RADIO (at 10.30 p.m.) : To the east of the Loire the enemy has 
advanced further beyond Autun. In Burgundy he has entered Dijon. 
In Franche Comt he has reached the Doubs and launched motorized 
elements in the direction of Girac. . . . The Maginot Line is outflanked. 
Next day a correspondent, already too cautious to sign his name, wrote 
to the B.B.C. from hire : " Before this province is attacked 
by paralysis, before we are reduced to silence in the deepest wretched- 
ness* I wish to tell you of our distress to tell you of our amazement 
to tell you that no one wished to cease fighting to tell you 
that we all thought we were united* England and France* in 
life and death to tell you that we wish to strengthen the links 
that bind us together* making of us one single country* under a 
united government* as Mr. Churchill proposed to tell you that 
you must make all Englishmen understand the battle that was 
fought in France by publishing the losses of all the armies the 
figures will speak for themselves. And then should a voice be 
raised to curse France* we can only say* ' God forgive them* for 
they know not what they say '. We want to tell you also : con- 
tinue your transmissions in French and English in such a way 
that they may be heard whatever happens. . . . Think of it* you 
will be the only friendly voice in the whole world in a moment 
all will be emptiness and darkness" 

Article Fourteen of the Armistice which was signed 
in the railway carriage at Compi&gne on June 22 
stipulated that the French Radio should close 
down. 



SIEBURG AND THE FRENCH RECOVERY 

" Do not let us doubt that the salvation of Franc* is possibly for the solidarity of 
tomorrow should impoverish no one, but should enrich everybody" FRIEDRICH 
Dicu cst-il fran9ais ? " (1930). 



" On December 26, 1941, from a window of the Maine of the I2th Arrondissement 
in Paris, I saw about a hundred Jems, including young children, standing in the bitterly 
cold courtyard. They had been brought there from their homes in the district several 
hours before. They were guarded by German soldiers with fixed bayonets, and anyone 
making the slightest movement was struck with the butt-end of a rifle." PAUL SIMON, 
editor of the underground paper " Valmy " (1942). 

" Today when a mere signature at the foot of a sincere letter is nearly the equivalent 
of a death sentence." Letter from Occupied France, November 1940. 

A MORE drawn-out phase of the war in French now began with the 
German attempt to hold what had been won while the English and 
Free French fought to restore the dazed people to a condition in 
which they would resist. ' In this campaign the German Radio lost 
as spectacularly as it had previously won. The outward symbol of 
defeat was the dynamiting of the long-wave transmitter of Radio 
Paris dose to the demarcation line between Occupied and Un- 
occupied France in May 1942. The battle was lost long before that, 
and if we must trace it in greater detail than the campaigns in the 
rest of Europe, it is because of its greater intricacy and its special 
problems, but not because it was any less decisive. 

The only serious blunder, in Germany's revolutionary offensive 
was the armistice clause suppressing the French Radio. No doubt 
Hitler realized this on the day it was signed, for that night General 
de Gaulle was declaring into the B.B.C. microphone that a French 
National Committee would be formed in London in view of the total 
dependence of the French Government on Germany and Italy. 
This Committee, he told the French people, would " account for its 
acts " either to the legal Government when one existed or to " the 
representatives of the people " as soon as they could assemble. A 
programme called let la France was already going out from the 
B.B.C., but those who ran it chose repatriation to Vichy France, and 
one of them spoke regularly on the Vichy Radio until he was 
dismissed by the Germans. It was followed early in July by Les 
Francois parlent aux Franfois, which developed into die most 



SIEBURG AND THE FRENCH RECOVERY 143 

brilliant half-hour of radio in any language from any country* 
Deadly little slogans were soon reminding the French that Depuis 
Strasbourg jusqu'd Biarritz, La radio est aux maim des Fritz* 

The ink of Hitler's signature was scarcely dry before orders were 
given that the French Radio should return to the air, this time with 
the accent on French. Ferdonnet disappeared, reappeared for a 
moment in Paris and vanished ; but there was no lack of successors 
who had remained all the time in the capital. 

Once again Hitler had first-class instruments at hand. Friedrich 
Sieburg, who became the all-powerful liaison between the High 
Command and the French Radio executives, was a rare phenomenon 
in German public life ; he had been a Social Democrat who under* 
stood the meaning of the German metaphor to live like a king in 
France. As Paris Correspondent of the Frankfurter Zeitung, 
he had lived there like a passionate king. Indeed, his attitude 
recalled that of the injured party in a certain type of love affair. 
He liked the refinements of living and thinking, the clarity of 
French wines and of French wit, the classical lines of French 
logic ; but while his attraction was heightened by the aloofness of 
the French, by their conviction of the unalterable superiority of 
their culture, his desire that Germany should at least impinge on this 
aloofness was stimulated. In the 'twenties he was warning them with 
good reason that they could not afford to turn eyes blinded with 
classical prejudice on the technical advances in progress beyond the 
Rhine ; he warned them more pressingly that an ambition to dominate 
Europe without concession, by means of vast standing armies and 
the machinery of the League of Nations, would end one day in 
disaster. He pleaded with a certain fatalism,' having noted that only 
two great French writers had ever interested themselves in foreign 
culture. He was enlightened. If his love for France made him want 
to advertise the existence of his own country, he did not want to 
obliterate France from the map of Europe in order to erect a more 
pathological German nationalism. "Germany," he said, "will 
achieve her salvation only when her anti-semites have ceased to exist. 19 
In theory at least he believed in co-operation and equality between 
races. 

It was this same Friedrich Sieburg wt 
German High Command behind the 
force on France the ideology of the ThkcPIkKm. His 
of French, weaknesses, added to die 




THE DARKNESS 

. 

fi bfeyc^ the Chaimd, made him insist on the purdy Frtnch 
dttracttt of the transmissions. The Vichy Radio system and 
tint rf^be Occupied Zone were separated, but of the two it was 
Paris who insisted most emphatically on its national character. 
Between items the Cog Gott/wo^wed the call-sign, and the speakers 
had pccuHariyFrmch virtues. M^^ 

a certain notoriety before the war by his reluctance to c< die for 
Danzig". He now confined himself to the argument that col- 
laboration with Germany (but Hitler's collaboration, not Sieburg's 
viswt *& the 'twenties) was essential for French survival, and the 
should be " National Revolution ", a phrase we first 
in tnc cflmpaiini ascainst jrans. 



D&t spoke his dear, logical arguments in curiously tired tones that 
reminded one more of a lecturer than of a revolutionary. More 
attractive, with a wit that enlivened the gloomiest aspects of this 
Revolution, was Charles Dieudonnc who was to be heard for a long 
time every night giving the Causerie dujour. Concerned with the 
detail of political intrigue, he would whip up well-known personalities 
for their lethargy in furthering collaboration. " On It cortfondrit 
jadis wee Figaro" he said of Vladimir d'Onnesson at a time of bitter 
hostility between Vichy and Paris. " Mais il y a entre Figaro et 
d*Orme$sonune petite difference. Figaro liait un barbier ; d'Ormesson, 
hdy cst m raseur" His sentences raced on like this, flicking and 



Brilliance was not enough ; to compensate further for the dull 
and suspect content of its political message, Radio Paris undertook 
a wide range of social services. The Public Relations Staff was 
increased. A daily feature, Labour Link, pleaded insistently for the 
unemployed. Employers Were asked to listen and to provide work ; 
when they did, the names of the " eagerly responding employers, 
conscious of their social duties," were given free publicity. Work 
far Youth, another regular feature, had a stronger pseudo-Socialist 
style, and regularly attacked Vichy. " Youth has a holy right to 
work," said die speaker, who demanded that the Minister of Labour 
should provide training classes, camps, apprenticeships on a wide 
scale, " just as in Germany ". Casual allusions like these soon 
merged mto frank recruitment of workers for German industry. 
Four months after the Armistice a regular broadcast, French 
Worken m Germany, was introduced. Similar services were 
carried out for wives of French prisoners of war and for war 




" Flags for the pride of France, 
processions for her hope, and the 
Marseillaise for her passion. We 
need, and we still have pride, hope 
and passion. The world will 
realize that tomorrow." 

How de Gaulle's radio appeal 
on the eve of July 14, 1942, was 
answered in the Rue de la Re"- 
publique, Lyons. These photo- 
graphs were taken from the same 
point, one three minutes before 
the other, in the hour he named 
for the demonstrations. The 
white of tricolour flags can be 
made out at many of the 
windows. See page 151. 




VOICI LES CRIMINELS 




4bove : Photograph reproduced in a German propaganda publication at the beginning of 1942. 
* At the London microphone," said the caption, " is Jean Oberle, whose name is supposed to be 
secret. But it is no secret to us. Oberle is Oberle the artist, who learnt his politics among advanced 
iilletanti and surrealists." Below : At the end of 1942 OBERLE is still at the microphone. 
Partner in Les Trots Amis, he is one of the most brilliant script-writers in London. By his side 
at the controls is the European Features Editor. 




SIEBtJRG m& THE FRENCH i&QQVHRY* 

widows. Direct contact by mail was welcomed, and die radio 
tried to play a paternal role new in French life. 

The actual production of programmes was studied with care. 
Good titles were found: the B.B.G's programme Les Frmfau 
portent MX Francois was answered with Les Franfais de Prone* 
p&rfatt aux Emgrts, and the B.B.C's fast production methods were 
carefully, if crudely, imitated. The anti-semite ethnologist was only 
allowed to speak for four minutes, the artist who had been on a col- 
laborative trip to Germany, for three ; Mozart followed, and after 
Mozart a well-composed survey of the " French " press. 

The need for all these devices was obvious. The jammars which 
had once interfered with German propaganda might have been 
diverted to the B.B.C., but die psychological barriers were greater 
than any Ferdonnet had had* to surmount. The traitors were now 
in control ; their promises could be judged. Ferdonnet had dis- 
claimed any desire in Hitler to inflict a super-Versailles, but the 
reparations immediately exacted from the French were far more 
severe than those collected from Germany after 1918. The Socialism 
on which Radio Paris laid so much stress was no more than a Fascist 
juggling with words, whose purpose was to steal the thunder of the 
most threatening section of the opposition. The most careful use of 
language could not conceal the political quarter from which the 
arguments derived. " We know that if Britain and the U.S.SJR. 
win, we will have to submit to the domination of the Comintern, of 
the Political Commissars. This would mean the end of our civiliza- 
tion. (Sieburg, one wonders ?) It would mean the harshest tyranny. 
It would mean the flowing of blood, deportation of families, our 
cathedrals mutilated, our priests executed. It would mean all the 
horrors of Spain. 9 ' 1 Such themes were as well calculated as any 
could have been to inspire loyalty to Hitler's Europe, but they had 
been used too often by appeasers before the war. If they had once 
been effective, they were now irrelevant to people who were acquainted 
with the horrors of Hitlcrism. It appeared, indeed, that Hitler, who 
was so eloquent in inviting a nation to destroy itself, had less to say 
to one that was groping; towards a new stage of development. "You 
have no right not to listen and not to try to understand me," said one 
speaker. " Hear me tonight until the end of the broadcast so that 
you may revise your unfavourable opinion/ 9 * 

1 LtfPrancai* de France portent aux Emieris, January n, 1942. 
1 Charles Guy from Radio Paris, November 3, 1941. 
IO 



146 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

Germany spent more trouble on Radio Paris than on any other 
station in Europe. Monitors who listened every day were enthusi- 
astic over its ingenuity and technical excellence, yet by other standards 
than those of pure propaganda, it was a sterile and desperate business, 
as certainly destined to failure as Ferdonnet had been to success. 
One could hear its quintessence in the talks of" the German journalist, 
Or. Friedrich," who made his frank Teutonic bow nearly 4 year after 
the invasion. Many people believed on the evidence of the name 
that this was Friedrich Sieburg, but a friend of his failed to recognize 
the voice, and poetic justice might have been too neatly executed if 
Sieburg^ own lips had come to shape these epitaphs on the German 
attempt to better French leadership of Europe. A shadow per- 
formed the distasteful task. While one Paris station was carrying an 
operetta concert relayed from Frankfurt, Dr. Friedrich could be 
heard from the other speaking in the Palais Royal to an audience of 
Frenchmen " interested " in the history and ideals of the National 
Socialist Movement. Quietly, in cultured if rather colourless French, 
he would explain how Germany had been misunderstood while she 
reorganized her economy in order to eliminate unemployment, how 
the elements which had spread tendentious accounts of preparation 
for war, had themselves made that war inevitable. But now Europe 
had come together in a solid block for its own benefit. Or, well into 
1942, he would demonstrate how the world was divided irttoposstdants 
and non-posstdants, the latter with Germany and Japan among them, 
having no territories which they could exploit as England had once 
exploited Europe and Malaya. Dr. Friedrich's thoughts had 
acquired the timeless fixity of Hitler's, and whether it was more 
depressing to hear this calm perversion of a second-rate mind or the 
quiet, appreciative waves of applause caressing his voice, was difficult 
to tell. To regain faith in the French one had to listen later in the 
day to a group of Spanish songs by Ravel or a nocturne of Debussy's, 
for then the applause became a confused, swaying uproar like the 
noise surrounding an English football match with the urgency of 
partisanship. 

For a long time the radio network under Vichy lacked the glitter 
of Radio Paris and had no more inspiring policy. Many of the 
German habits were acquired, as when Lyons National claimed that 
" on the road to St. Valery-sur-Somme a British plane machine- 
gunned a young lad of fifteen, Andre Fichter ".* " As for the trans- 

1 January 10, 1942. 



SIEBURG AND THE FRENCH RECOVERY 14? 

missions of the so-called free zone," wrote one B.B.G listener, 
" you know more About them than many Frenchmen. , . . They fill 
us with shame. Though we have tried to listen once or twice, the 
very first words stank so much of the Bochc that 'we had soon had 
enough of it. We hear of many people who fed the same. 94 The 
favourite theme of Ferdonnct gained such a grip on the mind of 
Petain that, after the R.A.F. bombed the Renault factories, he called 
on history to judge " the criminal aggression of a former ally who 
allowed our soldiers to go to their deaths alone ". l 

Gradually, in spite of lacking the ordinary technical amenities of 
a national radio station, the Vichy network improved in quality. A 
group of executives came to power who realized that the French were 
utterly weary of " propaganda " and they concentrated on pure 
entertainment. Vichy also staked one important claim on the future : 
it made a point of speaking to French youth. To be fair to the 
Paris radio, we must admit that it, too, made an attempt to cope 
with the future by this means. Organizations such as "The 
Youth of New Europe " and the "Jeunesse Nationals Populaire " 
had been founded, but with the simple intention of further- 
ing " collaboration " with Germany and engraining it in the 
next generation. Vichy, while copying the Goebbels technique, 
sought to build up a Fascist youth organization for its own independ- 
ent purposes. The number of radio hours devoted to youth by 
the two networks together rose between August 1940 and January 
1942 from some four hours to nearly fourteen a week. 

Two generations of young Frenchmen passed through the 
Vichy organizations, the "Ltgion" and the " Compagnons" 
" In my eyes," said Petain, " you are the vanguard of the National 
Revolution, 9 ' and it was dear that what he intended was a scarcely 
modified form of Fascism. Certainly lack of discipline and organic 
feeling had helped to prepare the way for the German victory, and 
now these defects were to be overcome by the inculcation of the team 
spirit and the belief that " sacrifice " was nobler than pleasure* In 
the Youth Camps " physical education " was looked on as of the 
first importance. Each day, with military ceremony, the French flag 
was hoisted. Collaboration with Germany was not welcomed on any 
but an economic and political plane, but the code of behaviour was 
similar to that of the Hitler Youth. In Orange, the Compagnons 

1 Read by Barth&emy from the altar at the climax of the funeral procession in 
Paris, March 7, 1942. 



148 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

were reported to have hunted down and denounced listeners to the 
B.B.C, and when Petain made visits to provincial towns they 
called on tradesmen and forced them to buy flags and paper bunting. 
Mussolini's concept of leadership to act and obey, but not to 
decide was inculcated, and we meet again the familiar gulf fixed 
between the sexes whereby the women were to stay at home and 
breed the armies of the future. 

A cardinal principle of these youth movements was that they 
should take no interest in foreign policy ; but before occupation 
was extended to the whole country it seemed as if they might 
one day take an interest in the future of France. Satisfied with 
Vichy's impotence, Sicburg did not interfere more than to 
instruct D6at to bark out occasional sarcasms about "national 
cretinization ". 

On the whole the radio, which had done so much to achieve the 
German victory, did little to consolidate it. The unqualified use of 
the word la radio came in fact to mean the B.B.C., and Sieburg 
must have felt like a man who having triumphantly married the 
mistress whose self-absorption had tormented him for years, sees 
her turn her bored gaze elsewhere. There was a recklessness in 
the tone of Radio Paris which suggested no further hope as it 
reported the occupation of Southern France in November 1942. 
" The passage of troops gave rise to demonstrations of sympathy 
as early as yesterday afternoon," said the commentator who had 
blinded himself to the explosions at Lyons and the bitter hostility 
of the crowds. " The great cities of central France, the ancient 
Latin towns and the beautiful centres on the Mediterranean 
welcomed those who come to defend our shores and to prevent 
our soil from becoming a battlefield once again. In some places 
spontaneous demonstrations of friendliness took place." 

Two fairly dear periods emerge from French history after the 
prodigious shock of defeat. In the first few months there was a sort of 
distracted numbness, the counterpart on a national scale of an indi- 
vidual's behaviour after discovering that his worst nightmare had 
become a reality. Sometimes this took the form of a sense of humour 
which simply ignored what had happened. In one of the earliest 
underground news-sheets which, it is worth noting, contained prac- 
tically no news the editor quoted a philosopher friend who, tired 
of seeing die enemy moving about in packed lorries, consoled 
himself with a whim. " You know," he used to say, " really we've 



SIEBURG AND THE FRENCH RECOVERY 149 

taken too many prisoners." But if consolations as pom: as these 
were all that appealed to the Parisians, the inhabitants of the 
Unoccupied Zone could cherish illusions about the Vichy Govern- 
ment The majority did so ; they trusted in Petain as the Danes 
counted on King Christian. "The French people abroad who 
carry on a propaganda against him are fools or scoundrels," said 
a writer in Lyons at the end of 1940. This attitude was to change 
profoundly well before total occupation, but for a preliminary 
period in the south it was possible for large numbers of people 
to believe in the feasibility of compromise and ways of escape 
which were closed to their countrymen in the north. They re- 
mained for a long time less anti-German than the latter, and for 
months the B.B.C. had to remember it was speaking to a split 
nation whose fragments had passed through different experiences. 

The first period of crystallization in France was the emergence 
from the various bunk-holes of fatalism, despair and hopes of com- 
promise or even of German victory, to a corporate feeling of resistance 
and belief in the future. This recovery took about a year, and in it 
the B.B.C. played a vital part. " The underground resistance 
movement was built up by the B.B.C.,' 9 Andre Philip told me when 
he escaped later in the war and became de Gaulle's " Commissioner 
for Labour ". I had made some reference to criticisms he had 
made of the B.B.C. " In the first six months, the first year even, 
it was everything," he explained. " You don't understand how 
we depended on it. I haven't criticized the B.B.C. at that time, 
and its influence has always remained tremendous. But at the 
beginning it was everything. We needed help from outside, and 
the B.B.C. gave that help," 

Andre Philip had himself built up a circulation of hundreds of 
thousands for his own Socialist underground news-sheet. He did 
not pay these compliments lightly. Writing from inside France 
at the end of 1941 another listener admitted that she had been 
slow in " daring to pronounce a grave sentence against this old man : 
he was, after all, a Marshal of France, the victor of Verdun. . . . 
Now all this is over ; he is undoubtedly a defeatist, a traitor, sold 
like those common traitors Darlan, Pucheu, Doriot, Laval and the 
other Deats." 

As soon as the French spirit of resistance had come fully 
to life, more complex problems presented themselves. It was 
no longer, in this second period, a question of raising morale j a 



150 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

direction was needed for energies that spent themselves easily in 
isolated attacks on German soldiers and in fierce internal disagree- 
ments ; organization, discipline, patience had to be instilled But 
more than this, the Soviet Union was shortly involved in the 
war, and it became important to state what kind of society we 
were fighting for. "In those critical days/' wrote a woman 
listener, referring to the first period, " there was only your radio to 
cheer our hearts. But now that the agony has lifted a little and 
loosened the grip which forced us into the blind circle of a single 
obsessing thought, the cold light of reason is returning. Noble 
sentiments are losing their^fine rapture and we are washed up in 
the cold light of dawn." 

In the year of recovery a cult grew up around the transmissions 
of the B.B.C. which was unique in history. The opposite of the 
German radio cult, which had been imposed from above, this, too, 
drew its strength from the prostration of the country and had semi- 
religious qualities reminiscent of suppressed movements whose 
groups practised their ritual separately but united by the know- 
ledge of a common source of consolation. " It sometimes happens," 
wrote a demobilized lieutenant who had listened to the B.B.C. day 
by day for a month since the Armistice, " that weeping women 
kneel around the wireless set and men turn away their heads 
to hide the tears in their eyes, but if England announces a 
victory, there is applause and cries of ' Bravo ! ' But the trans- 
missions are interfered with, and it is often very difficult to hear 
the announcer. Then heads come dose together and ears are 
pressed to the set" 

" We listen to you, we believe you, we love you," wrote a French 
girl as if declaiming a creed. " You are the truth," a group of 
French girls in the Unoccupied Zone wrote to General de Gaulle. 
" You are hope without you we should have no more hope." 
" Every time I dream of you," wrote a younger girl from Savoie, 
" I always see you dad in magnificent rose-coloured silk and girt 
with a golden belt." When this period doses, about a year after 
the Armistice, a traveller in a crowded train heard a woman 
cry out, " If de Gaulle came down in an aeroplane, he would be 
received like Joan of Arc, and the good marshal would not count for 
much ! " But the B.B.C at this time could more fairly be compared 
with the voices heard by Joan than with her corporeal self. As 
another traveller who passed through France remarked, " Do you 



SIEBURG AND THE FRENCH RECOVERY 151 

know that no one in France knows what de Gaulle looks like ? " 
He was a voice, a slow, majestic, lofty voice which invested final 
syllables with the values due in poetry and celebrated battle for the 
nation's sake as an absolute good. He made jamming seem a rather 
scandalous and irrelevant impertinence. 

On the eve of July 14, 1942, when the; resistance he had fanned 
had become so firmly established that the name La France Libre 
could be changed to La France Combattante, he made one of his most 
eloquent appeals. The tones of his oratory still seem to ding to 
the words of the text. Processions were to take place, the tricolour 
was to fly from houses. " Partout" he commanded, 

Partout, la Marseillaise sera change d'une seule dme, d pleine gorge, 
les larmes aux yeux. Que voudront dire ces drapeaux, ces d&fils> cette 
Marseillaise ? ... Ik diront que la France se prepare, qu'elle se ras- 
semble en secret pour le jour terrible oil VAllemandyfliclussant, les Attiis 
presents et les trdtres balayts, la nation toute entiere debout, chassera 
et punira f emend. 

Les drapeaux I c'est la fiertt. Les dtfiUs ! c'est I 9 espoir. La 
Marseillaise ! c'est la fureur. II nous f out et il nous restefiert 9 espoir 
etfureur. 

On le vena bien demain. 

Next day it was indeed plain for everyone to see. According 
to the letter of the instructions, the tricolours flew, the processions 
marched and the Marseillaise was sung. At Lons-le-Saulnier, where 
priests were among the demonstrators, the Marseillaise was sung in 
front of the statue of Rouget de PIsle. In Lyons and Marseilles, the 
two main cities of Unoccupied France, crowds of a hundred thousand 
assembled and marched in Lyons, to the Place Cornet, and in 
Marseilles through all the main thoroughfares. In one street 
police opened fire with Tommy guns, killing two men and two women. 
Information was sent to the B.B.C. immediately, giving the exact 
place in the St. Pierre Cemetery where the women were buried, and 
de Gaulle, who was in close touch with the organized resistance, 
called for another procession which duly filed past their graves 
between five and six in the evening of the following Sunday. 

To give the Germans no excuse for drastic action against the 
patriots, the instructions for celebrating July 14 had emphasized 
that in Occupied France no demonstrations should take place* 
This restraint was observed, giving by contrast to the activity in 
the south a striking proof of the discipline of French resistance. 



I 5 2 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

There had been previous attempts to organize such demonstra- 
tions by radio, but apart from the slight success of the first, on 
New Year's Day, 19413 and the rather greater success of May Day, 
1942, the intervening attempts had no very impressive response. 
By the summer of 1942 de Gaulle had acquired a formidable ally in 
die Gestapo, whose mass executions were more potent than any 
oratory in the world* 

Long before ttat the audience had existed. An Englishman 
who was in Chambery for some time after the Armistice reported 
that from eight o'clock till nine the town seemed deserted. " Gener- 
ally at this time people were out for a stroll, but not now. The 
wireless is the cause. As the waiter here says : * All the cafes in 
Chamb&y might as well dose at 8 o'clock V A German soldier, 
referring to Paris in the late summer of 1941, claimed somewhat 
implausibly that here, too, " you could see hardly any people in the 
streets at London time ". The supreme experience for devotees of 
the B.B.C. was of course to hear an acknowledgment of their own 
existence. In this way the war and the fact of Germany's omnipotence 
could be miraculously abolished. " I was awaiting the reply (pre- 
sumably to another member of the same group of listeners) to write 
in my turn," wrote a listener in Central France at the end of 1941. 
" This reply, with what emotion we heard it a few days ago ! " 

Schoolmasters were particularly faithful listeners, their mood 
sometimes recalling the exalted stories of 1870. When Churchill 
himself spoke to the French nation a form-master in a lycee near Paris 
told his assembled pupils that it was no ordinary day. "We are going 
to hear the leader of the Allied Forces," he said. " The broadcast 
will be badly jammed, so will each of you take down every sentence 
he Can hear properly ? We will piece it together tomorrow." Next 
day they succeeded in reconstructing the speech in full. For the 
young people of France, unlike the young Germans, were as fervent 
an audience as their schoolmasters. An eighteen-year-old boy 
wrote from the Occupied Zone that his companions were " all in 
favour of the Allies " and got out of bed to hear the programme 
at a quarter to one in the morning, when jamming had declined. A 
boy in Vichy France reported that he and his friends set their 
alums at the same hour. 

Overwhelmingly important among the reasons for this early 
cult was die fact of English resistance. By itself it produced 
a psychological revolution against the achievement of German 



SIEBURG AND THE FRENCH RECOVERY 153 

propaganda. The overturning of accepted landmarks had been so 
well advertised that defeat had become a habit of mind. " Nobody 
ever imagined that you could offer the magnificent resistance you 
are putting up against Germany/' said a writer from Marseilles. 
" It makes one think that things might have been different last 
June if our rulers could have had this feelings" England was 
fortunate in not only having the dogged pugnacity of Churchill 
and the victories of her fighter-pilots to her credit ; the night- 
raids which followed with their high death-roll among civilians 
made it easier for Frenchmen to forget whatever jealousy they 
harboured. These raids also acquitted the Frenchmen in the 
B.B.C. frpm the meaner charges brought against them by German 
propaganda; their words were surrounded with the glamour of 
the front line. 

We may fairly label the devotion to the B.B.C. at this time 
." Gaullism ", the word by which it was known in France. It is of 
course thoroughly inexact. The French news and some of the pro- 
grammes were compiled by Englishmen ; the most popular half-hour 
was run by independent Frenchmen subsidized by the B.B.C. and 
unattached to General de Gaulle ; he himself directly controlled 
only a five-minute talk which went out every night under the 
title Honneur et Patrie. But de Gaulle was the best-known per- 
sonality who spoke from the B.B.C., and the French saw his hand in 
everything spoken in their language. If their picture of his activities 
there was confused, the views of precisely what he stood for, 
beyond the military fact of resistance, were more so. Reliable 
reports from France after a year of defeat agreed that six or seven 
Frenchmen in every ten were " Gaullists ", but insisted that ideas 
about him were very vague. The people felt they did not " know " 
him; they approved only because he was continuing the fight. 
His warmest supporters were among the young. They were to be 
found liberally sprinkled among Vichy's youth movements and 
especially among the older secondary school children, who shared 
with French prisoners of war the honour of being the most ardent. 
In the working classes he had fewer admirers, the causes of dis- 
trust being that "he is a professional soldier, a Catholic and 
possibly a Monarchist," to quote the correspondent of the anglo- 
phile Swedish paper Goteborgs Handeb Tidmng. 

Beyond the circle of Gaullism other forces were at work. 
There was the pervasive influence of German propaganda. An 



154 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

American girl who came out at die beginning of 1941 described how 
everywhere she went " people read the newspapers in desperation, 
because they have to read something ". They may indeed have 
read them, as a wine merchant said of himself, " with a sceptical 
smile* 1 , but scepticism is less impenetrable than those who fed 
it suppose. Devoted listeners to the B.B.C. services in French and 
English were amazed, for instance, to find Waterloo Station still 
standing when they got out of the train which brought them to 
London. 

After the Battle of Britain the prospects of victory receded 
for a while. Oran, Dakar, Syria and Madagascar came as successive 
confusions to those whose attitude was most purely determined by 
nationalism. For more detached believers there was the fate of 
Jugoslavia, Greece, and Crete. " Everything seems to start all right," 
said one indignant listener, " then without any obvious reason you 
just drop it and start on something new. I tell you it makes a 
terrible impression. Many people I know have already given you 
up and have no more hopes." The 1942 broadcasts officially 
warning the French to leave coastal districts because of the immin- 
ence of invasion were followed by a jibe from Hitler about nations 
whose help to Russia consisted in shouts calculated to disperse his 
forces. When the big offensive was finally launched, Radio Algiers 
fell to the Allies, but from there the French heard the voice of 
Darlan, the bogey of innumerable Free French broadcasts. After 
de Gaulle's protest duly made at the B.B.C. microphone they 
may have remained puzzled until the end of a remarkable edition 
of Les Pranfais parlent aux Franfaisy when explanations were 
capped in the last few seconds by news of President Roosevelt's 
assurance that relations with Darlan were a " temporary ex- 
pedient ". 

These incidents need to be remembered if one is to realize 
the difficulties that B.B.C. speakers had in retaining the full con- 
fidence of their listeners. But the fact of British resistance audible 
in the nightly service of the B.B.C. was itself a continuous 
victory, and the recovery of French morale never turned into a 
serious relapse. The fervour of the Gaullists seems to have 
tost some of its emotional quality, but their numbers grew. Outside, 
sceptics always remained. " People listen to London," said a Parisian 
in October 1940. " They don't know who is telling the truth. They 
wait. They are building up their individual opinion. We have all 



SIEBURG AND THE FRENCH RECOVERY 155 

been so duped by the papers and wireless that we don't believe in 
anything completely any more." Many who felt like this listened to 
American stations. Their letters showed that they wanted to believe 
the British communiques during the Battle of Britain, but did not 
dare to. America's neutrality seemed a guarantee that the news was 
accurate and gave it the advantage of freedom from censorship ; 
but these advantages of course lapsed at the end of 1941. Listeners 
who valued objectivity above everything then turned to Swiss 
broadcasts and even to Ankara, but their defection was more than 
counter-balanced by new listeners. There were plenty of Frenchmen 
who had fewer grudges against America than against Britain, 
more sympathy for the American democratic spirit, and above 
all, were impressed by the tradition of overwhelming American 
industrial power. One visitor to a large town in the south found 
that people had " begun to listen largely to the American broad- 
casts in the evening as these are easier to get ". They were unjammed 
by Vichy, and a Frenchman back from the Free Zone in the summer 
of 1942 reported " there is increasing listening to Boston and 
Schenectady ". Roosevelt himself addressed this audience. 

Both German and Vichy propagandists continued to regard the 
B.B.C. as public enemy No. i, but America seems to have overtaken 
Moscow for second place. " To what is due the revival of the 
patriotic spirit ? " asked an engineer from the Swiss frontier in the 
early summer. "First of all to the Free French Radio and secondly 
to die excellent transmissions from America, direct and relayed 
from London/' 

Efforts to prevent listening were from the start less successful 
than they had been in Germany. In the Unoccupied Zone, where 
London was least popular, the first ban on listening in public places 
was made four months after the Armistice. Penalties were imposed 
in terms of days and weeks instead of the months and years inside 
the Reich. Further north, meanwhile, a witness who spent some 
three months in Brittany, found the petit peuple of all districts 
listening to the B.B.C. without troubling to shut their doors. From 
Paris the correspondent of the Spanish newspaper Ya reported " a 
veritable pandemonium of British radios pouring news through 
balconies, windows and patios ". A year later, in September 1942, 
a woman who was prosecuted in Paris for exactly this attitude, 
was only fined fifty francs and sentenced to three months' imprison- 
ment. At the same time, Vichy quadrupled its penalties, bringing 



IJ6 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

tfofrn to $ rp^YjfniiTTi of ten thousand francs and imprisonment 
for two years. Listening was admitted to be general all over 
France. 

After a year the German authorities seem to have decided 
that in many districts the good done by the whole battery of 
German radio propaganda was more than undone by the B.B.C. 
The logical conclusion was to confiscate sets, and this was carried 
out at Boulogne, Calais, St. Nazaire, Douai, Lille and in ten neigh- 
bouring communes. In 1941 a measure was published demanding 
the surrender of every Jewish-owned set in Occupied France, 
but it is doubtful how far the municipal authorities succeeded in 
collecting them. Success in such circumstances is rarely complete, 
and where one set was left behind in a village, the news was spread 
almost as widely as before. 

It was not only the people of France who bent their heads dose 
to the English radio in those days. Laval, before he was shot at by 
Colette, admitted envying the B.B.C. 's team, and used to be late for 
appointments rather th^n miss the n>^in evening programme. He 
protested that his private statements were quoted by the B.B.C. 
as soon as they were made, and complained in public at the end of 
1942 that Frenchmen still listened every night to " hmgr&s ". 

One listener whose motives were puzzling to myself was a guest 
he seemed to be the guest of honour at a Christmas dinner-party 
in London. Middle-aged, with the slightly boyish expression of so 
many artists, this Frenchman had, one felt, been famous under 
some name in some branch of art. I was not introduced because he 
was listening intently to die main French programme of the evening 
which was coming at full volume from a wireless set in the corner 
of the dining-room. Dinner was already late, but in the circumstances 
die guests hesitated to sit down. Maman, the radio was saying, la 
B.B.C. Qm dit si vrai, Est-elle en France ? To which an indignant 
feminine voice replied, Mais non, petit beta ! Si elk ritait, elk 
mentirait! And a third voice commented with emphasis: La 
radio franfoise n'est franfaise que de nom. The would-be diners 
stirred uneasily, puzzled by the intent attitude of the listener and 
distressed at the delay. " Would you mind," said the host, " turning 
it off?" The guest jumped rather guiltily, apologized, and got down 
on his hands and knees to listen to a fainter version in circumst 



more nearly .resembling those in his country. I joined him. 
Edging under a table, he acknowledged my presence with die 



SIEBURG AND THE FRENCH RECOVERY 157 

greatest pleasure. No w and then he turned towards me to emphasize 
with a nod some neat turn of phrase, and once he banged the carpet 
with his fist at a delayed cue. " We could turn it up a little, yes ? f * 
he said with an uneasy glance, because the clatter of plates was now 
louder than the jamming. I turned it up. " Do you think/' our 
host suddenly said, " you could turn that off we're finding it hard 
to hear ourselves dine ? " A look of complete wretchedness spread 
over my companion's face, but was followed by an inspiration. 
" Upstairs !" he said. " There's another set." We got up and he 
hurried across the room. " What about your dinner ? " said the 
host, " your Christmas dinner ? " Without turning back, the French 
guest said to me as he took the stairs two at a time : " What an 
institution this has become in England ! " In the sitting-room he 
picked up a radio set from the centre of a pile of presents, put it 
on the floor, wrestled inexpertly with plugs and flex, and turned it 
on. We had got used to the floor and knelt for the rest of the pro- 
gramme while shadows of approval and disapproval continued to 
pass across his face. At the end he gave a brief " All right," and 
looked at me with a s&iile. " You listen often ?" he asked. "Every 
night when I can," I replied. He was tremendously pleased, beamed 
at me and pulled a pipe from his pocket. " And you ? " I asked. 
" I ? " he said. " But I am Jacques Duchesne. I am the organiser. 
I have of course never missed a night." It was now plain that 
M. Duchesne and I could talk for a long time, but as he had extracted 
a box of matches and we were speaking on top of the last German 
programme of the evening, it seemed advisable to go down to 
dinner. 

Perhaps the main reason for the excellence of Les Franfais 
parlent aux Franfais was precisely this enthusiasm of its organizer. 
With a message to give and enough theatrical experience to invent 
original ways of giving it, half an hour's propaganda became more 
exciting in his hands than any other radio programme I had heard. 
Neither content nor means of presentation gave the listener a chance 
to switch off; themes were attacked from all angles, angrily, wittily, 
musically, in dialogue ; it came out with such speed and precision 
that one imagined an Olympian calm surrounding the mechanics 
of the performance. But die atmosphere in the studio was a contrast 
to the intensity of the German programmes. A minute or two 
before the clock-hand had reached half-past eight, one would find 
an apparently inextricable muddle being resolved. In shirt sleeves 



158 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

at a table, Les Trois Ams would be still rehearsing their long con- 
versation for the end of the programme. Jacques Duchesne would 
be arguing heatedly with Jean Oberte, the " bohemian-artist- 
criminal ", so often denounced by German propaganda. But was 
this the script or a private political argument, one wondered, confused 
by the invisible setting which was supposed to be a winter's day? 
At another microphone a programme engineer was crumpling 
different kinds of paper at different speeds to achieve the most 
vivid impression of a fire burning ; but in the control cubicle 
the effect was hard to disentangle from a French woman's excited 
account of her experiences in Paris before escaping to the Un- 
occupied Zone. As the dock-hand reached its destination, however, 
the picture altered. A gesture, a grimace, was enough to make 
everyone respond exactly. But: easily, even gaily, the only strained 
face now was Jacques Duchesne's as he prepared to announce : 
" Aujourd'hui, quatre cent cinqui&me jour de la lutte du peuple 
fran^ais pour sa liberation ! " 

After speaking these words with the full passion of French 
oratory, Duchesne would become another person. The warm, 
benevolent voice of an ordinary middle-dais ancien combattant 
would deal with some point that had struck him in the news of the 
day. Afterwards came a commentary on the news as a whole. The 
French are particularly good at this kind of reduction to lucidity, and 
in Pierre Bourdan, a vaguely Radical Socialist commentator from 
the Midi, and Jean Marin, a Catholic from the North, they had 
model speakers. They were cautious, but encouraging. I re- 
member when the Germans first began to retreat on the Russian 
front, hearing the event stated in a way which must have warmed 
die most frozen hopes. Bourdan was speaking. It was a few weeks 
after the first long wavelength came into the European service, 
but a new type of jammer was already pressing up underneath 
and breaking his words into fragments with the strain. " I expect," 
he said, " that many of you remember those bad serial films which 
used to be shown in the last three years of the Great War. 

There was nearly always the * horror scene '. The hero or heroine 
was generally enclosed in an iron chamber whose walls were being 
pressed together by a mysterious mechanism. Slowly but in- 
exorably they neared the captive, and the agonized audience 
wondered if the machinery would ever stop. Of course, at the last 
minute, at the very last minute, it did stop, and everyone heaved a 



SIEBURG AND THE FRENCH RECOVERY 

sigh of relief. In just the same way, for more than two years the 
German wall of steel advanced and went on advancing. W* always 
knew that one day the terrible machine would stop. But many of 
you must have been saying to yourselves : c In the North, South, 
East, West, he goes further, ever further. When will 'he ever stop ? 
Will he ever stop ? * Well the horrible machine has stopped." 

Encouragement to throw off passivity could take an indefinite 
number of forms, descriptions of the work of the Free French 
Forces, for instance, or detailed stories of the heroism of individual 
Frenchmen since the Armistice. There was the Commandant 
DTJstienne d'Orves, who was executed for his patriotism at 
Vincennes in the summer of 1941 as if he had been a spy. 
D'Estienne was a fanatically brave Frenchman who had always 
volunteered for the most dangerous work. To the French it was a 
bitter irony that he should have been shot as a common spy by 
Frenchmen in France. " The other Friday at dawn," said a close 
friend of his, " he was led out at Vincennes down a path ending in a 
rifle range and a slope where the posts stood. He was bound to one 
of these posts where formerly the spies Bolo Pasha, Lenoir and Mata- 
Hari had been bound. Soldiers wearing the helmet of Verdun aimed 
at him and fired. His head fell forward. Then the soldiers of Vichy 
filed past his body, as military ritual dictates, to the triumphant 
strains of Sombre et Meuse" His friend ended not with a rhapsody, 
which might have been justified by one of the ugliest executions in 
French history (it had been endorsed by Darlan), but with the 
simple words of a Breton seaman : " FusilU ? Le Commandant 
d'Estietme ? Je le connatssais bien. . . . II f out le venger" 

Hatred of Hitler's Germany was as necessary to foster as mere 
encouragement of the belief that England would win the war. 
Conscious that the absence of over a million prisoners of war did 
not help the cause of collaboration, Radio Paris was at pains to 
describe their happiness and welfare. The B.B.C. undid this impres- 
sion. Prisoners who had escaped, and there were many of them, 
gave details of the real conditions in the prison camps. They 
described how at Goedep, in East Prussia, the flea-ridden hospice 
had fourteen beds for three thousand men ; how abscesses were 
lanced with kitchen knives for lack of scalpels ; how the diet 
made recuperation impossible, and in the hospital of Stalag 2oB 
at the end of 1940 more than a score of Englishmen died in a 
fortnight. 



160 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

In winter we bad heating in the barracks for three hours a day ; 
the rest of the time we stayed lying down to save ourselves from 
freezing. We suffered from a kind of rain, because drops of condensa- 
tion fell from the roof on the few letters or books we had to read. 

One day a friend of ours put that in a letter. The letter, torn 
across, was returned with a note by the censor : " What you say is 
true, but you should not say it. You will disturb your family." The 
officer replied : " My son is old enough for me to teach him the facts 
about Germany, don't you think, Monsieur ? " After that we were 
left for many weeks without letters. 

Every day in the shower-room of each Stalag there is a prisoner 
who watches the gloomy procession of his comrades in chains. Some 
with rheumatism of various kinds, others with boils, hernia, frost- 
bitten hands or feet, bronchitis, diseases of every type. This prisoner 
who watches is the French doctor. He is helpless. He -has no 
medicaments, and he cannot defend his comrades from the ferocity 
of their torturers, for he himself is in the Nazi grip. 

And when a prisoner gets that disgusting rag called the Hyphen* 
which Dr. Goebbds distributes when his eye falls on this Hyphen* 
he sees articles by Dat and other scum who sponsor collaboration 
with the New Order. He finds out that the men of Vichy want to 
persuade their countrymen of the advantages of a rapprochement with 
theBoche! 

Generally Les Franfais relied not on horrors but on their native 
wit. They replied to Radio Paris with epigrams, justifying, for 
instance, their departure from France with the reasonable claim 
that they " would rather see the English in their country than the 
Germans in ours ". A nice talent was shown for fitting the right 
music to the right words, as when they commented with just the 
right light-heartedness on the London blitz to the jazz-tune 
" Boom ! " 

Et Bourn ! quand Us canons font Bourn ! 

On rientend que des Bourns I 

Dans tous les faubourgs de Londres. 

Bourn I Les borribes tombent Bourn I 

II faut plus que ce Bourn ! 

Pour que noire moral s'effondre ! 

and so on through verse and chorus. There was also a delightful 
Jamming Song, ending to an accompaniment of disastrous caco~ 
phonies, " mats non, Messieurs les AUemands*LavMtnesetaitpas ! " 
We know that many of these, slogans which crystallized more im- 
portant propaganda themes than this, were sung from the Pas-de- 



SIEBURG AND THE FRENCH RECOVERY 161 

Calais to the Pyrenees. Outside the German labour recruiting office 
in Grenoble on July 14, 1942, demonstrators chanted the mono- 
tonous slogan " Ne va pas en Allemagne " until they were dispersed 
by gardes mobiles. 1 

In summary one cannot do justice to performances which drew 
from France complaints that " the very soul of French wit has fled 
to London/' for the standard was maintained night after night, month 
after month, without very striking variations in quality. One of the 
model pieces of French sadism a more elegant and artistic affair 
than Germany's was a dream which proceeded along sound anti- 
collaborationist lines. The narrator had dreamt that he was in Paris 
after the war. The fact that there were no Germans in the street 
told him that. The Parisians seemed happy and free. He came to 
a fair, and the special French sounds, the drifting soprano music 
interrupted by slaps from the rifle-range, welled up in the loud- 4 
speaker. Inside he found one of those booths, known usually as 
La Vie or VEnfer, where under a pallid light monsters and human 
beings are revealed in the grip of venereal diseases. The impresario 
was explaining to a crowd that in the recent war there bad been a 
number of " collaborators " who met such a terrible end that their 
persons could only be represented in wax ; but " there were some 
minor ones who managed to escape the fury of the populace and 
these were recovered after unheard-of difficulties, and preserved in 
the original flesh and bone ". Inside, they tour a room whose dicor 
is arranged in the style of the Park Hotel at Vichy. 

IMPRESARIO : Over there on your right, that conventional-looking 
gentleman is M. Pierre Pucheu. He was well brought up, and his parents 
did everything they could to make an honest man of him. Alas, he turned 
out badly. He became King of the Trusts, and when the provisional 
government of Vichy appointed him Minister of Production it was 
apparently to fight the Trusts. 

A VOICE : Nonsense ! 

IMPRESARIO : I assure you, Sir, it was so. He fought the Trusts. 
But only those from whom he drew no dividends. Here you see him 
casmng his monthly cheque at the counter of the Banque Worms. Of 

1 The neatest slogan presupposed a knowledge of the tune " Les Ecrevisse* '* 
by Poulenc and experience in catching crayfish : 

Dans la Russie, O quel suppUce ! 

Les Allemands maintenant s'en vont 
Comme s'en vont Us icrevisses, 

A reculons, rectdons. 
II 



VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

course it's allegorical JML Pucheu didn't queue up at the bank like you 
or me. It was on behalf of thfc great institution and certain metallurgical 
undertakings that M. Pucheu furthered collaboration with Germany. If 
he didn't always seem in perfect agreement with his chief, Admiral Darlan, 
it was because he disapproved of his keeping the profits of " collaboration " 
what crumbs Hitler let drop, that is for another institution, the Paris 
and Netherlands 9 Bank. The fight against the Trusts, ladies and gentle- 
men, was simply the fight between the Trusts. 

The spectators shuffle further down the marquee. 

IMPRESARIO : Now tell me, young man you with the mischievous 
face if the gentleman you see over there asked you to lend him your 
note-case, what would you do ? 

YOUNG MAN (promptly) : Say I'd left it at home. 

IMPRESARIO : Well, that is M. le Baron Rend de Benoist M&hin. 
Before the war he vegetated like a fungus while pretending to be a writer 
and musician. One day M. le Baron de Benoist Mchin got to know a 
famous Parisian publisher who made him his secretary and took him 
travelling. Entrusted with the publisher's note-case because he looked 
after the petty cash M. le Baron amiably pocketed what was given him. 
A good many people were not in the habit of shaking M. le Baron by the 
hand. But die Vichy Government made him an ambassador of France. 

MAN'S VOICE : I hope the Government he went to locked up its 
money. 

IMPRESARIO : Appointed Secretary-General of Vichy's Presidential 
Council, M. Benoist Mdchin showed his political and military acumen by 
declaring in September 1941 : " If Russian resistance is not liquidated, 
it is at least so enfeebled that it can no longer give any serious anxiety to 
Germany.' 9 Which shows that, lacking ability, anyone could become a 
Minister at Vichy provided they were sufficiently dishonest. 

Has anyone any questions ? 

WOMAN : Yes. What's that great Frigidaire over there by the wall ? 

IMPRESARIO : That great I would rather say that monumental 
Frigidaire was expressly constructed for our museum. Reverently pre- 
served on ice, it holds the remains of the anti-Bolshevist Legion. I now 
open the door. You may notice particularly M. Abel Bonnard, M. Georges 
Claude, M. Alfred Mallet, Cardinal Baudrillart, as well as some legionaries 
of less distinction who were frozen on the Russian steppes. 

MAN'S VOICE : But those people never went to Russia at all ! 

WOMAN'S VOICE: Do be quiet, dear don't make trouble. The 
main thing is that they're frozen. 

IMPRESARIO : And now, ladies and gentlemen, Room No. 4 awaits 
you. 

MAN'S VOICE : Look ! Darlan 1 But it doesn't make sense. He's 
licking a boot . . . only, whose boot ? Where's the owner of the boot ? 

IMPRESARIO (gravely] : The boot hasn't got an owner. The Admiral 
licked all boots. He wasn't particular. It was enough if the owner of the 



SIEBURG AN THE FRENCH RECOVERY 

boot seemed to be all-powerful. Admiral Darlan was the devoted servant 
of all Governments. He even courted the Ministers of the Popular Front. 
He was even an anglophile and a patriot as long as he thought England 
would win the war. And then one day he thought she'd lose it, so he 
became a Germanophile and licked Hitler's boots. The Fiihrer promised 
to make him Admiral of the European Fleet. A nice title. Only this great 
navigatpr had set a wrong course. He had faulty binoculars. A clear sign 
of this, ladies and gentlemen, was that before the victory Admiral Darlan 
became the subject of a little parlour game. When the French got very 
bored in the winter evenings they set one another this question : " Who 
is the more repulsive : Laval or Darlan ? " 

Needless to say this was broadcast before Darlan set course for 
North Africa and appealed to the French Fleet to join th$ Allies. 
The tour went on with inspections of Dear, Doriot, de Brinon and 
the other collaborators. 

With scripts of this quality, Les Franfais parlent aux Franfais 
played its great double part of raising French spirits and limiting 
collaboration with Germany. There was something essentially gay 
and confident about it. Even when military marches alternated with 
slogans as musical relief, they had the very special character of French 
military music. Mehul's famous Chant du Depart, which Michelet 
thought grave and imposing, sounds to English ears above all 
exuberant, with its speed entrammelled slightly by clusters of bugles ; 
and the Marche Lorraine was inspiring in the same way. For weeks 
and months on end the great traditional French marches, banned in 
two-thirds of France, were woven into the texture of the programme. 

How little this inspiriting quality was a mere matter of calculation 
became evident as soon as Les Franfais went into mourning when 
French hostages were first shot late in 1941, at the end of this period. 
The atmosphere of speed and scintillation was inevitably destroyed, 
and the mourning was less effective than it is on a French widow. 
The truth was that those responsible were by nature rather enter- 
tainers than undertakers. In the first year it was entertainment that 
was needed. The period of mourning was happily brief, but mean- 
while the problem had altered. 

If we consult the enormous audience in France, we shall find 
that their demands had become a great deal more exacting than when 
the B.B.C. started to raise their morale. London had given the 
example of resistance and the promise of good intentions in the 
post-war world. Frenchmen at the B.B.C. microphone had 
denounced collaboration, the surrender of colonies and the whole 



164 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

Kidman ideology ; they bad extolled the virtues of Honneur and 
Patrie as well as of freedom and democracy. But this list which 
sounds fairly impressive, becomes more unreal when we investigate 
the interests of the individual Frenchman. A foreigner who knew 
his facts found him at his least forthcoming among the peasants. 
" They just/ 9 he said, " went on with their jobs, disregarding the 
rival propagandists." A Swiss in the summer of 1941 found that 
" the people didn't care what happened to Algeria and Morocco j 
they had never been there and didn't know where the places 



were ". 



The recovery of French morale had not produced unity. 
" Never in the history of France has hatred between Frenchmen 
been so violent," said a writer just before Hitler's attack on Russia. 
Vichy, on the eve of eclipse, had fewer supporters than ever ; its 
fascism was too shabby and out-of-date an affair to win support 
from any but those who held office under it. General de Gaulle 
had such widespread admiration that he would probably have com- 
manded a majority vote. One writer reported that the bourgeois 
were dismayed to discover that in the working class " nearly all 
are Gaullists " ; but this statement itself shows that there had 
remained something elementary about his appeal, for French workers 
were not easily united on a detailed programme. The resistance 
of the Soviet Union brought a moment's relief " Everybody 
breathes again "and then an intensification of th$ antagonisms. 
For the hope cherished by some that " the Germans and Russians 
will kill each other off " was not possible to hold for long. It was 
neatly ridiculed by Radio Paris in an attack on the " mental decrepi- 
tude of the bourgeoisie who . . . imagine that Russia will save 
them from defeat and England from Bolshevism ". 

Now, more than ever, Radio Paris spoke in the name of Socialism, 
realizing, as it had always done, that this rather than the bourgeoisie 
it attacked was the most serious enemy. We meet again the over- 
whelming importance in propaganda of military success. Logically 
those who hoped that the Germans and Russians would kill each 
other off should have rallied to the support of die side which seemed 
to be losing, but in fact a majority were so impressed by Soviet 
resistance that they succumbed to admiration of the prospective 
winner. " Anybody will tell you ' Leningrad, but that is a new 
Verdun'. The word Communist no .longer frightens the petit 
bourgeois" 



SIEBURG AND THE FRENCH RECOVERY 165 

The B.B.C. was at a relative disadvantage until Britain and 
America took the initiative in Europe. The bombs which had 
once exploded around Station Beta, absolving its speakers from 
the typical charges brought against refugees and surrounding 
the programmes with a glow of heroism, had transferred their favours 
to Moscow. Radio Paris returned to the attack. " They think 
that they speak to France, but they only speak to an imaginary 
France built by their enervated minds from insufficient data accord- 
ing to the very little they know and the very little they understand 
of the country they left a year and a half ago. Les Franfais parlent 
aux Franfais ! If ever the sound of a fraternal voice came from them, 
that time is past ! " 

To this altered situation the B.B.C. had to respond as best it 
could. While war aims were not more clearly defined than in the 
Atlantic Charter, it became of obvious importance to convey the 
changing English atmosphere, the old English values and the new 
sense of responsibility. These, at any rate, would be powerfully 
expressed in the post-war world. But at once the ghost of Sieburg 
rose up in warning. " The French," it said, " are susceptible, they 
are, if you like, a little vain and exclusive. The defect which- has, 
indeed, a dangerous attraction for lovers may have brought her to 
disaster, but it has also brought disaster to me." It was a problem, 
we must admit, that needed tact as well as faith. In peacetime 
there had been few native pioneers who had cared to broach the 
subject of England, but now there were unlikely to be any. For 
while the German, the Pole and the Czech refugees had a respectable 
ancestry in exile, the French had none apart from Victor Hugo, 
who had ventured as far as the Channel Islands ; they were linked by 
tradition with the counter-revolutionaries who fought the First 
Republic from abroad and drew their cash from the governments 
who harboured them. " migrds have always been wrong throughout 
history," said the astute Laval. 1 

Religion proper, which in France meant Catholicism, had been 
compromised politically to some extent by the many French 
Catholics who had backed Franco in Spain and sympathized with 
Mussolini in Italy.' But this had not been the attitude of all Catholics. 

1 In a national broadcast on November 20, 1942. Note the pertinence of the 
title " Les Francais de France parlent aux fimigrds '*. Similarly Radio Paris 
referred to de Gaulle's Minister, Andre* Philip as " Ministre de I'lnt&ieur a 
rfixt&ieur". 



166 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

Bcrnanos, for instance, bad been politically on the side of the angels. 
From South America he sent messages through the B.B.C. to priests 
and Catholics who had been invited to listen beforehand. He used 
his familiar application of Christian metaphor to political facts and 
was quickly jumped on by Radio Paris for " mythomania ". His 
messages had a peculiar quality of precision which only half survives 
my translation. 

French Catholics on the side of the Enemy ! Spare us now the 
revolting imposture of a crusade against Stalin, to which you will in 
any case contribute only loud tirades disagreeably reminiscent of 
those you made ten years ago against Hitler. The real peril is in the 
centre, at the heart of Europe. Hitler . . . strikes down the national 
chiefs of the waning pagan churches, but he will put his own creatures 
in their places, and he will round up the whole flock . . . French 
Catholics fighting for the Enemy, once you repulsed the Enemy, 
once you rejected the military pact with the cruel Stalin because it 
would have saddened the dear sons of pious Italy who were then 
engaged in burning Abyssinian women and children with poison-gas. 
When Hitler threw himself into Stalin's arms you only broke off your 
prayers to demand that the Communists, his accomplices, should be 
locked up. Now Hitler is raining blows on his former associate, you 
demand once again that the Communist workers should be locked up. 
Twenty-two months ago, who were Hitler's collaborators ? They, 
or you ? 

Much of the French correspondence addressed to the B.B.C. 
at this time showed the profound clash of fears and hopes caused 
by the Russo-German war. Some of the Air Post programmes, in 
which letters were acknowledged, read and commented on, were 
wholly devoted to it. Here, for instance, are the main points from 
January 23, 1942. The date of writing is some months earlier because 
of the devious routes by which many of the letters arrived. 

COMMENTATOR (after a long list of brief acknowledgements) : And now 
here is a letter of July 20. It is from a Catholic girl student writing in' 
Roanne (Vichy France). She doesn't disguise her anti-Communism 
but listen: 

LETTER : ... We know it is often from evil that better things can 
be gained for combat against the worst evils. We distinguish between 
Communists and Russians, and we hope that out of this patriotic war they 
will get the change of regime they want . . . 

COMMENTATOR : From Roanne also comes this letter of September 13. 

LETTER : . . . The Anti-Communist Crusade has convinced nobody, 
and Russia's entry into the war has raised a great hope. ... It has of 



SIEBURG AND THE FRENCH RECOVERY 167 

course redoubled the vigilance of the police, and there is 4n increase in 
the arrests of admitted Communists. Apparently France had quite an 
impressive number of Lenin's disciples. In a little town not far from my 
commune, three good men fathers of families, honest workers and dutiful 
citizenshave been sent to Concentration Camps under suspicion of 
being Communists. 

COMMENTATOR : Inevitably the anti-Communist campaign had on 
some people the effect Hitler wanted. But until now we have only had 
one letter which mentions fears* It is from a refugee from the north who 
wrote us on September 26, 

LETTER : . . . I have found that many people are afraid of Bol- 
shevism, and since the Anglo-Soviet Alliance they have deserted 
you. 

The real trouble is that there was a majority of people in France 
and I belong to them for whom the hatred of the Boche and of Hitler 
came before everything. Now these people have been deliberately classed 
as Communists. Apparently we have come to a pass where we must be 
for one or the other. German propaganda spread through Paris by 
enormous placards has contributed a lot to this. But I also have the 
feeling that you have helped : some of your broadcasts give the un- 
fortunate impression that you are in favour of Communist propaganda, 
or at least that you favour Communist ideas, if only to sing the praises of 
the fools who go in for inglorious assassination. 

COMMENT (abbreviated) : Anyone who knows anything at all about' 
Communist policy knows that Marxist theory expressly forbids assassina- 
tion. Also, as far as we know, Paul Colette was not a Communist. Nor 
have we ever praised his deed. It was Vichy and not London who tried to 
argue that Frenchmen opposed to the present state of affairs are Com- 
munists. 

LETTER (continues) : Your argument should above all be this : the 
English alone have carried the war to German territory. They alone are 
avenging us, they alone are wearing down the enemy ; they alone have 
dealt with the Italians . . . 

COMMENT : We are not likely to forget what the English are doing. 
We repeat every day that the English held out alone from June 1940 to 
June 1941 and that without them the world wouldn't be what it is to-day. 
But neither the English nor the French can dose their eyes to the role that 
is being played today by the Russian people. Listen to this letter from 
St. Etienne (Vichy France) written on October i. 

LETTER : The majority of the public is against Vichy and that majority 
is composed above all of the working class. In many cinemas, films called 
National Propaganda are whistled and hissed, particularly when Hitler 
appears. On the other hand, scenes of the Red Army often produce 
bravos. Very many people here admire the valour with which the Russians , 
are defending themselves, and yet the percentage of Communists is 
relatively very small. 



x8 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

COMMENT: That is a perfectly simple reaction which has no social or 
political implications. . . When a Frenchman looks on the English as 
his allies, it doesn't mean he wants to set up their form of democratic 
monarchy in France. Why should he fed differently about the Russians ? 
It will be France's own business to decide her form of government after 
the war. 

These letters and the many others from which I have quoted are 
fairly representative. Any letter-bag has of course an upper-class 
bias which a century ago was almost complete and today in spite of 
universal education still exists. But although peasants, factory 
workers and those classed as " illiterates " were by no means pro- 
portionately represented in the B.B.G's correspondence, sample 
letters did steadily trickle in. Again it was about twice as hard to get 
a letter to London from the Occupied Zone as from Vichy ; but 
letters continued to come, if only in that proportion, and considering 
the risks of communication with the enemy or almost-enemy, the 
numbers were remarkable. Despite ever-tightening control, in July, 
a year after the Armistice, 193 arrived 57 from the Occupied Zone 
and 136 from Vichy's territory. The geographical distribution 
within France was good, leaving only two or three of the major pro- 
vinces unrepresented. Eight came from professional men and women, 
nine from tradesmen, shopgirls or petty officials, four from factory- 
workers, and ten were illiterate. 

Choosing now a long extract from a long letter which arrived 
from the Occupied Zone at the end of 1941, 1 do so because I feel it 
represents what a number of Frenchmen who had learned from the 
past, would have asked if they had been eloquent enough, and 
because it shows the extent of the demands which were made on 
the B.B.C. Borel, who edited Air Post, devoted a whole number to it. 

COMMENTATOR: I submit this letter to you hoping you will 
discuss it among yourselves and that it will cause a fresh exchange 
of thoughts among you over there in France and between you and 
ourselves. 

LETTER : What honest object is there to this war apart from 
lasting peace ? Who will dictate this peace except those who win 
it ? What kind of a peace will it be ? Neither you nor ourselves 
want a European Order under National Socialist Germany. What 
other European order do you intend to succeed it ? From what 
I have been able to learn of the intentions of Britain or the Free 
French Forces I can see nothing very different from the status 
quo introduced by a solemn and mutual declaration of good intentions. 



SIEBPRG AND THE FRENCH RECOVERY 169 

But do you realize that just as we are opposed to the continual 
warfare under which we live at the moment, we have no use for a 
war with interludes, not even, if the interludes last twenty years, 
which is just long enough to raise a generation and dedicate it to 
the sacrifice ? Whatever the anxieties of the present moment, it 
is not too soon to build up a peace programme. For you do not 
imagine, I take it, that the conference to decide its terms will spon- 
taneously resemble the Last Supper unless the apostles representing 
the peoples are convinced beforehand of the need and the possibility 
of sharing the earth's produce equitably among the peoples and 
providing everyone with his fair share of work. 

It is in fact a whole economic programme which needs setting 
up, and that programme will clearly be unrealizable without an 
international armed force to ensure that it is carried out. Such a 
force is entirely lacking in Europe, and on this level the League of 
Nations was simply a congress deprived of executive powers. The 
idea of a forced return to the political machinery of the past must 
therefore be rejected a priori, and also the maintenance of the ones 
now existing. 

The author goes on to insist on the role England should and must 
play in such a Europe. He praises a speech of Cordell Hull's con- 
demning excessive nationalism, demanding that primary materials should 
be made accessible to all nations and that international finance should 
be reorganized to benefit all peoples. As for national aspirations, he 
continues, as for nationalism and xenophobia (which I do not in the 
least confuse with love of country) these always have their roots in 
a collective feeling of injustice either in the present or past it is a 
feeling more or less foreign to a free and happy human being sur- 
rounded by free and happy men like himself. What has to be ensured 
therefore is individual liberty in conditions of plenty, and then it 
matters little if certain national privileges should have to suffer. 1 

COMMENT (in slight embarrassment) : I am not in a position to give 
our friend Letulla formal replies to all the questions he asks. But 
I will reply all the same. In London, which has become in the middle 
of the war the capital of free thought and free expression, the 
problems set by our friend are occupying many minds. To my 
knowledge there exist no less than half a dozen committees, circles 
and different study groups who have set themselves the task of 
clarifying the future in a world stripped of Nazism. Here English- 
men and migr& from all the oppressed countries meet. In addition, 
each of the Allied Governments has a section entrusted with the 
study of post-war problems. 

1 " Don't accuse me of materialism/' the author adds. " If an ideal is needed 
to canalize human energies into such a programme, it can be condensed into the 
old motto of the French Republic : Libertf, Egcditt, Fratermtt'* 



170 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

But the labours of all these men may remain abstract plans 
on paper if agreement is not arrived at between the planners and 
the desires of the peoples. Projects for world transformation are 
fruitless unless they are based on universal will and conviction. 
That is why the French people who decline to let themselves be 
dominated by passing events, must prepare to come out of the 
nightmare of the moment with firm ideas on the world order of 
the future. 

i 

To many this broadcast will seem of doubtful worth as propa- 
ganda ; it achieves no short-run object and no counterpart of it 
could have got near the microphone of the German Radio. But that, 
it seems to me, is precisely its virtue ; it is adapted to the English 
strategy. England could not hope to fight the second Battle of 
France in terms of the first ; and so the technique of the German 
Radio's campaign had to be ignored for something more permanent 
than Ferdonnet had worked for. Sieburg, it is true, was fighting to 
hold what Ferdonnet had helped to win, but his task was hopeless, 
he was forbidden now to call in the French as equals, and a letter 
such as this, written from his own sphere of influence, must have 
made him despair not simply because it had been written, but 
because it had been broadcast back to France with the humility of a 
fellow builder of the future. For the free and equal right to think, 
had been recognized by Hitler years previously as his arch-enemy 
in a more fundamental sense than Communism. To shout down 
thought in Europe, to condition it into the automatism of his own 
subjects, was the only basis on which his New Order could be built. 
That ideas should ferment like this, intangibly in his own ether, 
meant that revolution against his system was sooner or later in- 
evitable. To Sieburg it may have brought at least the satisfaction of 
seeing his plan for a co-operative Europe still alive and handled now 
by more determined minds than his ; for between them Hitler and 
Sieburg were teaching the French to listen to reason. 

In leaving France at this turmoil of ideas, I am aware that I 
have given too little attention to other parts of the French Service 
to the news which was edited brilliantly and with an almost excessive 
care to avoid touching French, susceptibilities : to the workers 9 talks, 
which up to 1942 were less brilliant; and to the propagandist 
elephant, Babar, and the children's programmes. My excuse is that 
Les Pranfais parlent aux Franfais ran away with me, and my justifica- 
tion that it ran away with the French. 



TECHNICALITIES 

BEFORE pressing deeper into the European jungle we need an inter- 
lude on technical questions which may have been besetting the reader 
from the start. Was the B.B.C. properly heard in Europe if jamming 
was so bad ? It was heard with great difficulty on long and medium 
waves for much of the time, but on short waves it was always r&ore 
or less comprehensible and often quite dear. What are short waves ? 
In practice, concentrated radiations like the beam of a headlamp* 
How is it that you can quote so confidently from the German and 
French Radio ? A big staff of people write down what they and 
other radio systems say. 

The answers are very bare, and they will now be elaborated and 
supported. 



i. JAMMING 

Like the other sounds emitted by the hostile radio systems, their 
use of the jamming note faithfully reflected their characters. Italy 
jammed with more enthusiasm than accuracy. She would come on 
early and leave late ; she battered at one of our programmes for 
two months after it had transferred to another wavelength; she 
strayed off our wavelengths and jammed her own. Germany was 
elaborate, precise and efficient. To ensure these qualities the 
Reichsrundfunkgeselkchaft recognized " Broadcasting Defence " as 
one of its main functions. Fresh hostile programmes were promptly 
discovered and dealt with to the minute ; if they changed their 
wavelength or went off the air, the jammers immediately followed 
suit. The number of technicians employed probably ran into several 
thousands. Neither England nor America resorted to jamming at 
all. Aware of the attractions of forbidden fruit, they were in any case 
handicapped by their geographical situation and lack of transmitters. 
A listener in Barcelona neatly put the case for not jamming when 
he wrote that " if the English transmitters treated the German 
broadcasts in the same way, they would descend to the same level 

and we should imagine that as in the case of the Germans they 

171 



172 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

had some reason for this. In the ordinary course of events (me 
asks: * Was there much jamming ?' 'Yes.' And then one gathers 
that things are going badly for them, and so on." 

The technique was developed as soon as radio had become 
a massive popular force. Less than a year after Hitler had seized 
power the German Radio went to work on broadcasts from Moscow. 
The Soviet Union retaliated against German broadcasts in Russian. 
The Italian Radio jammed Haile Selassie's speech from Addis 
Ababa just before the invasion of Abyssinia, and shared the German 
attentions to Moscow in the late 'thirties. When the B.B.C. replied 
to Italian broadcasts in Arabic by starting its own service in 1938, 
Italy replied by jamming both these and our broadcasts in Italian, 
which started later in the year. 

Germany was more cautious, calculating at first that the positive 
advantages she would gain from uninterrupted broadcasts to England 
outweighed the damage done within her frontiers by the B.B.C. 
Before the war and in its early months she simply prosecuted her 
citizens for listening ; later she took the risk of reprisals and jammed 
as well. France and Germany had tried to silence each other from 
the start, and now the German Radio steadily extended its barrage 
to cover nearly every European language unless it was being spoken 
by herself or by Italy. Sometimes the racket was a dear pointer to 
her intentions, as when she started jamming Warsaw (with whom she 
had a model radio non-aggression pact) some days before the 
invasion began. When America as well as Russia were in the war, 
the task became gigantic, needing technical resources only available 
to a power in control of the whole of Europe. 

If Germany was the most thorough, Russia was the most original 
interloper. It is a mistake to think she was the first to break into 
the German service with her eruptions in the Deutschlandsender's 
news in the summer of 1941. Norwegians achieved this honour 
while the north x>f the country was still in their hands ; on top of the 
German-controlled Oslo Radio patriotic songs could be heard and a 
voice, which may have come from Tromso, denouncing the official 
German orders. But Moscow was the first to use offensive tactics. 
She interfered, for instance, with Hitler's speech from Berchtesgaden 
before Munich, but with one curious result. While engineers in 
London thought the effect very successful, a Russian psychologist, 
who was unaware of his country's part in it, hailed the combination 
of brooding thunder in the background with the vivid cries 



TECHNICALITIES 173 

of Hitler and his followers as Goebbels* masterpiece in mass- 
terrorization. 

The listener is apt to conclude from the monotony of jqm*i"g 
that there is something simple and merely parasitic about it, that it 
win^s itself round the transmission as ivy dings to a tree, drawing 
support and strength from it. But in fact the jammer must exist in 
his own right. He must invent the most distracting sounds possible 
and ensure local superiority over his victim. If there was any potency 
in his ideas and war aims, it would of course pay him better to emit 
these instead. 

After a decade of experiment no agreement has been reached on 
the noise which causes the most distress to* a listener. Different 
countries have their own tastes and generally indulge several at the 
same time. Italy favoured a sound like a lunatic performance on a 
concertina in which the same group of notes was depressed back- 
wards and forwards in cycles of less than a second each ; she also 
used Morse, repeating groups of letters instead of pure notes, and a 
similar effect on a machine imitating the bubbling of water through 
a cistern. The Italian Radio also seemed to possess a tame but vol- 
uble cicada. Germany was more earnest. Her favourite attack was 
with a steady roar which seemed to rise up underneath the trans- 
mission forcing it apart into syllables and fragments; of syllables. 
She superimposed several voices talking together, hammers and steam 
engines, buzzing and swishing sounds/ When signals of a more 
inexplicable nature were heard, they were put down to the Gestapo's 
attempts to trace listeners with sets tuned to London. 

To ensure superiority in volume for this interference Germany 
worked out a system of regional and local transmission to cover the 
whole of Europe. The regional jammers might be foreign transmitters 
captured and converted into whole-time jammers or they might be 
some section of the home German Radio itself, even the Deutsch- 
landsender, which would interrupt its own programme for half an 
hour in order to interrupt the B.B.C. This type of jamming covered 
a wide area a province, a country, or even, less reliably, the con- 
tinent of Europe. Within it, reinforcements were brought up by 
local jammers. The Third French Republic had found eighty were 
needed to cope with Ferdonnet, but Hitler, who was glad enough of 
these recruits against the B.B.C. did not content himself with 
defences he had so easily outflanked. It is impossible to be precise 
because the majority of local jamming was inaudible from London, 



174 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

but wide use seems to have been made of apparatus which could be 
packed into a suitcase and worked from the mains in a hotel bed-* 
room. The disturbance would be sufficient to affect the neighbour- 
hood, and a few operating from scattered points could deafen a town. 
For this reason free-lance or partisan jamming was a possibility. 
In Toulon a tribunal sentenced an unnamed woman for this offence. 
According to the very guarded reports which appeared, she had 
" systematically jammed, with an apparatus which was not discovered, 
the French Radio, particularly when Marshal Petain spoke. 9 ' 1 
There were mysterious " attenuating circumstances ", and she was 
only condemned to three months imprisonment. 

But the size of the problem Hitler tried to solve by " Broadcast- 
ing Defence " can be judged from the fact that the B.B.C. began 
to transmit each programme on half a dozen wavelengths simultane- 
ously. As each of them had to be challenged on its own wavelength 
by separate transmitters, regional and local defences had to be 
multiplied half a dozen times. The listener's job was to try all the 
wavelengths and choose the least affected. For a long time a 
legend persisted that one was always left free for the convenience 
of the German monitoring service, but my own experience never 
justified this. 

One is often assured that the jamming audible on a set in England 
gives no indication of its volume on the continent ; but roughly it 
is an opposite indication. Jamming on long and medium waves is 
likely to be stronger beyond the Channel, and on short waves there 
is a good chance that it will be weaker. The reason for the first half 
of this statement is obvious : the nearer one is to a medium or long- 
wave transmitter, the louder its signal is likely to come in, and if it 
is a jammer, the more completely will it blot out the B.B.C. But short 
waves, whose strength depends on reflection over a long distance, 
tend to be heard better far away from the transmitter. Fortunately 
a high proportion, almost as many as half, of the European receivers 
at the outbreak of war were built to receive short waves. A notable 
exception was the German " people's receiver ", but even this could 
be converted, and a German who listened on one in Cologne in 1941, 
told me that reception was good. 

On the outside edge of the continent, then, England was at a 
great disadvantage in the long and medium wavebands. At first 
there were the favourable psychological reactions which jamming 

1 Reported in the journal of the Vichy network, Radio National, June 7, 1942. 



TECHNICALITIES 175 

can be relied on to produce. " Breaking off a conversation without 
an apology, jamming the wireless, are a few of a thousand little things 
which enable one to distinguish between a gentleman and a lout, 
between an Englishman and a German/' This was the expostulation 
which a group of villagers in the Charente sent to Radio Paris in 
February 1941, and they added, what was probably true : - * The less 
we hear, the more we understand." But a principle of this kind 
ceases to hold at the extreme, and in the summer of that year 
it was becoming impossible to hear anything at all on medium 
waves. " First and before anything else you must do something 
to counteract the jamming/' wrote a correspondent from Mar- 
seillcs. " It is inadmissible that the Allied technicians and scientists 
. . . should not have found yet, after twelve months, a means 
or a trick to make the French transmission of the British stations 
reach their listeners almost intact." An Italian, writing at the same 
time, protested that our lack of cunning was displayed all too well 
by announcing at the start of each Italian programme the wave- 
lengths on which it was going out thus, he thought, giving the 
jammers their cue. In fact, of course, jamming cannot be im- 
provized as quickly as this correspondent supposed, and the 
B.B.C. could have been virtually free if it had cared to scatter 
its programmes at different times and on different wavelengths 
every day. But the listeners would have been scattered as well. 

Measures taken by the B.B.C. both at the transmitting end and 
in advice to listeners did continue to ensure reception of some kind 
all over Europe. The listener could obtain some relief by using a 
frame aerial. It was unlikely that the interfering transmitter lay in 
the same direction as the station he wanted, and the aerial could be 
swung round accordingly to minimize the interference. Advice to 
use this method was frequently broadcast, and a model frame 
aerial was on permanent exhibition in the Press Office in Spain. 
But as the jammers multiplied, the listener had no longer simply 
to disentangle one station from a noise, but to search for some- 
thing that might be a station in a ring of barrel-organs, concertinas, 
circular saws and the other sounds we have met, many of them 
being applied simultaneously. 

No " means and tricks " could get over the fact that much of 
what we said on medium and long waves was lost, but ultimately 
much depended on the listener. If his will was strong enough he 
could hear ; if it was weak enough and if the news was depressing 



VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

noogh, he would be irritated by quite modest interference and torn 
08. An Ei^WwtHnan mustrated this by tel^ 
tried to listen to London with * Frenchman in the Occupied Zone. 
After bearing die uproar for a while she gestured to him to give up, 
" What do you mean ? " he said in genuine astonishment. " It's 
very good today. It's dear." 

One of the measures taken by the B.B.C. in 1942 was the nightly 
transmission of news bulletins in Morse. This was very much more 
difficult to jam, and for the sake of listeners who were not experts in 
the medium, its speed was slowed down and each word was repeated. 
An early reaction from Belgium was the ban imposed by the Germans 
on all lessons in the Morse Code. The news was sent out every night 
in this way in French, German and English. 

But it is time to inspect the world of short waves where wave- 
lengthy are more numerous and technicalities more complicated. 



II. THE MOTE AND THE BEAM 

If cars and petrol still exist, it is better, for the sake of contrast 
to arrive by car. The road leads through a countryside which belongs 
to a firm familiar past where villages are small and duster solidly 
at the crossroads. Careless of petrol, our car twists between woods 
and rises rather more than it falls, making for a plateau. Round a 
bend the masts come into sight ; they are slender and seem a little 
delicate, balancing without visible support. Related, apparently, 
to the poplar, each appears a legitimate enough part of die landscape 
until the twigs growing laterally from its stem are seen to reach out 
in an unnatural complexity to join a second mast. There are several 
of these arrays facing in different directions. They sway slightly in 
the breeze. Spars and bobbins, scattered across the wires, drift 
with them. 

Let us stare at a single one. We must be forgiven if the adjust- 
ment to a scientific attitude takes time, for the complicated pattern 
of wires in front of us is a device for speaking to the German armies 
bogged on the Eastern Front. 

Not all die wires constitute the aerial proper. The aerials are 
simply pieces of wire half a wavelength long (suspended side by side 
die two halves make * whole), and since the wavelength of the Forces 




he short-wave aerials in the centre are sending out beams in opposite directions simultaneously 
because they lack " reflectors ". On the right a one-way aerial can be seen with its reflector. 




Monitors examine their rota to find ^ hat 
bulletins they must cover. 



Monitor takes off the wax record from hei 
recording machine after a bulletin. 




TECHNICALITIES 

Programme ID Germans engaged in Russia is 42-46 metres, we may 
look for arid find strands of wire of just that length suspended 
behind and on top of one another facing die direction of Russia. 
The wires that remain unaccounted for are stays to support the masts 
and tods connecting the aerial wires. Above them is a triatic which 
was originally used on ships and serves to support the whole array. 
Connected with this is a cable with a big concrete block, whose give 
and take keeps the array supple in the wind. In winter ice forms on 
the wires by the ton, lifting the block several feet off the ground 
Lighted braziers were put underneath before the war, but this would 
now be too warm an invitation to the Luftwaffe ; the ice has to go on 
forming in exceptionally cold weather until miracles intervene or 
fail to intervene. 

If one takes the lens off an ordinary torch and the reflector from 
behind the bulb, the light, dissipating itself in all directions, seems 
suddenly feeble. Something of the same sort happens with a medium 
or long-wave aerial the familiar double strand slung high between 
two masts-*-which cannot radiate over really long distances. The 
object of the complex short-wave aerial is to direct and concentrate 
the radiation as the lens and reflector of a torch concentrate light, 
giving it a vastly greater strength at the spot on which it is focussed. 
The beam can be made very narrow, as it is in radio-telephone 
conversations where reception is only desired at a single point; 
or it can be made relatively wide to cover a country or a continent. 

If the parallel with a torchlight were exact, we should be able 
to bring the beam to bear on Mars or a retreating nebula quite easily, 
but not, without the highest of aerials, on our own earth sloping 
inexorably away from us. We should only be in a position to do this 
if we had a reflector poised somewhere in the sky, and just this im- 
probable phenomenon does exist in a belt of atmosphere enclosing 
the earth at a height of about 180 miles. The ionosphere, as itis called, 
has the property of forming a conductive path for electricity and of 
reflecting it. A beam pointed up will come down again in almost as 
predictable a fashion as a ray of light which strikes a polished sheet 
of metal. It lacks the same certainty because the ionosphere, born 
of the sun's radiation and composed of particles of gas called iotas* 
is more fluid than a metal reflector. Its height and the efficiency of 
reflection vary and produce " fading ". As die sun's radiation changes 
with the time of day and year and the. development of suuspots, so 
theionraphercdiangesandwithittte 
12 



178 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

While short waves come bade all round the clock, medium and long 
waves are only reflected at night when one has often noticed 
they come in more powerfully, but with the " fading " characteristic 
of short waves. 

The ionosphere has the further peculiarity of letting rays which 
are beamed almost straight up at it, pass through and inaudibly off 
into space instead of sending them almost straight down again. 
This is of particular interest to us because it makes broadcasting 
over small distances by the shorter short waves more or less im- 
practicable; it makes obvious difficulties for the jammers. The 
ionosphere performs its task for the oppressed peoples of Europe with 
a partiality which leaves to American, British and Russian engineers 
the relatively simple task of taking aim. 

A given transmission is directed just as if it were a searchlight ; 
only the arrangement of reflectors is more obscure. Control over 
the beam is gained not by the adjustment of a metal saucer, but by 
manipulating the number and height from the ground of the energized 
wires which make up the aerial. 1 It would be reasonable to wonder 
why this carefully calculated beam only proceeds east to Russia and 
not westwards to America as well. There is no wall of insulating 
material to intervene, but only a replica of the energized aerial 
hanging behind and level with it. This unenergized " reflector " 
throws back the westward beam and thereby doubles the power of 
the message to the east. If it seems too much to believe, the 
incredulous may comfort themselves with an admission that the 
reflectors are not completely effective and a small leakage does occur 
in the opposite direction. The path of the beam can of course be 
reversed by energizing the " reflectors " and de-energizing the aerial. 
The same aerial can thus be used for South America, and in reverse 
for the Far East ; for the Near East and its opposite, Eastern Canada. 
Each has half a dozen other possible directions, so that in practice it 
is not a question of hoisting the elements further from the ground 
or hitching additional wires between the masts. From each of these 
arrays which face most of the points of the compass, feeders pass back 
over insulators and through a massive gantry by the transmitting 
station to the transmitters inside. 

\ 

1 Technically : the number of elements vertically determines the vertical width 
of the beam; the number of elements horizontally determines the horizontal 
width of the beam; the height of the array from the ground determines the angle 
of the beam. 



TECHNICALITIES 179 

The transmitters do what they always do take in the modula- 
tions from Station Beta, amplify them, join them to a carrier-wave 
and send them out to the aerial but they differ from long and 
medium-wave transmitters in one important point. They have to 
be readily adjustable. It is not enough to connect an aerial trained 
on Italy with a transmitter working for a different wavelength to 
another country ; aerials are more fastidious and demand a radiation 
fitting their own peculiarities. So when a change is needed one man 
collects a lever and a bicycle to attack the switches at the foot of the 
aerials, while a colleague opens one of the electrically controlled 
doors inside and goes to work on the transmitter. It can be easily 
adjusted to four wavelengths marked on a turntable above coils of 
different sizes. The engineer shifts this turntable round to the new 
wavelength ; anode timing condensers are adjusted ; heavy copper 
switches worked by electricity sink home ; a score of other adjust- 
ments are made, and the doors close. The preliminary current is 
switched on. 

But remember the man with the lever in the fields. To save 
himself from electrocution, he is hurrying from one to another of the 
seven switches which have to be moved. They carry a high voltage 
and are accordingly big ; in the winter when his ride through the 
snow seems enough labour in itself, he sometimes finds them frozen 
up. But in spite of the terrors surrounding him, his mind strays 
as he rides among the aerials, for he suspects that the touch of 
medievalism about his job makes it insecure in a progressively 
scientific world ; he is thinking of the days of remote control when 
these switches will be worked from inside the transmitting- station, 
and he is hoping those days are still remote. 

To safeguard him from electrocution the main current is not 
turned into the transmitter until the Senior Engineer has signalled 
that the outside switches are adjusted. Then at last a red bulb glows 
on the control desk, the needles of the voltmeters swing over to the 
right, and the programme for Italy slips out along the feeders to the 
chosen arrays, up in a steep diagonal to the ionosphere and down 
again neatly on the Mediterranean. 

Outside this great directional exchange there is a view which I 
may not describe with accuracy. Through the 350-foot-high wire 
curtain trained on Europe, we see the English countryside stretching 
out with groups of alders and oaks around tiny farms. At right 
angles another array faces South America. To the left, in the 



i8o VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

pith of India and Malaya, there are ploughed fields and grass, 
a row of cottages marked by a puff of smoke. A train moves 
across the path to Europe in the direction of South America* In 
the foreground a figure on a bicycle approaches, swinging a lever, 
and frowning abstractedly. 



III. EARS TO THE SKY 

The opposite of this last organization is the monitoring service 
whose business is to take in what every other radio system is saying. 
More a human than a mechanical problem, it is best represented at 
our approach along a willow-lined river by an Arab in a white turban 
and a cloak, who alarms inhabitants and impresses visitors how 
consciously no one knows. The working quarters are less idyllic 
than the setting. Army huts house a staff of many hundreds, and 
although they outnumber the editorial staff of any newspaper their 
accommodation has only grown in terms of further army huts. 
Monitoring began on a small sqale after Munich at the request of the 
Government. A few days before the outbreak of war the staff 
expanded abruptly, and of the fifty people who arrived at a buried 
country station one night a good many had to sleep in the waiting- 
room. Soon there were dormitories. They are, I suppose, no worse 
than many other wartime dormitories, but the changing shifts 
rising and reclining in bursts throughout the night, do not make 
for restful sleep and an edge is put on its absence by the international 
quality of the snoring. On the whole we could do worse than go to 
watch the monitors at work. 

In the listening-room scores of selective receivers stand on two 
long lines of benches. Some are more selective than others, and 
remote transmissions likely to elude them all are laid on by line 
from a central listening hut. The organization which controls them 
has to be as efficient as a telephone exchange. Aware that a trans- 
mission lost is lost for good, a daily conference decides what stations 
and what bulletins shall be listened to. The enemy is given the 
dosest attention, but neutrals have often had revealing things to 
report. Coverage for the day is worked out and the monitor comes 
to his set a few minutes before the transmission begins. He is a 
linguist rather than a mechanic, and with a notebook in one hand as 



TECHNICALITIES 181 

he hunts for the station with the other, he has some of the flurry 
of a secretary who cannot find her boss in a crisis. If the 
flurry develops, he is helped by the supervisor, and if neither 
succeeds they appeal to the listening-hut which sends the bulletin 
through one of a dozen channels. As it starts, the monitor 
presses a switch on a recording machine behind him, and has 
then the assurance that the distant voice is recording itself on 
wax. But his concentration does not unbend. Notes sprawl 
across the pages of his notebook. When they have finished he 
stops the machine, extracts the cylinder and goes along to the 
supervisor to " confess ". 

"Helsinki? Anything interesting ?" 

" Yes. More about Finland only fighting to regain the old 
frontiers." 

" Good let's have that. And the rest ? " 

The bulletin is gone through systematically. The wanted item 
is " flashed " through to the ticker machines in London to the 
Ministries and to Station Beta. It is verified and other items are 
taken down from the record which the monitor now plays back in 
a cubicle and dictates in translation to a secretary. Sitting there 
with transparent earphones on his head and repeating with pedantic 
care what Helsinki had said two minutes ago, he seems to belong to 
a Utopian fantasy. I cannot give you a dose description of him 
because he is sometimes a Russian girl who speaks Chinese, an 
anglophile Pole, a forlorn and brilliant Jew, a Greek, Roumanian, 
Dane, even an Englishman. But he is an exceptional person if only 
because of the number of languages he knows. 

A radio network which is listened to day after day has its effect 
on the listener wherever he may be, however anonymous and deeply 
buried in the English countryside. Germany's radio offensive in 
1940 appalled some of the hardiest monitors, and a Dutch girl, who 
took down some of the sentences I have reprinted in " Political 
Warfare Documentary ", collapsed. The crude projection 'of 
power demanded a steady flow of energy to contradict and hold it 
in perspective. The average Englishman's hostility to Lord Haw 
Haw could be easily expressed by switching him off; the monitor 
had to go on listening, and without the outlet of derision. 

Several monitors I have met developed a sense of possession 
towards the stations they listened to. One knows people who play 
their gramophone records as if they were themselves the artists 



182 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

who created them, and monitors tend to have this kind of pride 
in their radio systems* I have listened to a Russian monitor 
criticizing the Moscow speakers with real brilliance from one 
o'clock in the morning till two. " What ? " he would say in- 
credulously. " You don't listen to La Passionaria ? Nor Ehren- 
burg ? You haven't heard Theodor Plivier ? Look, you can still 
get that speech of Ehrenburg's. It was extraordinary, I'm a sober 
person, but it brought tears to my eyes." He was not in love with 
Communism, but with the voices to which he was chained. I have 
known a man who fought the Nazis for years adopt Hitler in this way. 
Words, other than direct quotations from the speeches, could not 
express his admiration : it was conveyed by widely rolling eyes and 
the dumb enthusiasm of his gestures. " Did you hear the jokes ? " 
he said to me a day after one of the speeches on the Russian 
campaign. " Did you get the one at the beginning ? " And in 
increasing discouragement -because Hitler's sense of humour was, 
after all, quite execrable: "You saw the point, I suppose?" 
I repeat that this man detested Hitler : the quotations he used 
were the most ludicrous boasts and the prophecies which had 
already been disproved. 

When the translated summary is complete, the monitor's job is 
done. It passes into a sub-editing machine run by journalists who 
reduce the million words that flow in every twenty-four hours to a 
daily digest about the length of this book. Indexed, checked, 
selected according to the needs of various London offices, it is on 
their desks within ten hours of the monitoring of the last word. In 
this summarized form it will make interesting research material for 
the historian who can face many millions of words. 

Of the several national monitoring systems, the English is prob- 
ably the most efficient. Most of the medium and long waves in 
Europe are outside the range of American receivers, and texts have 
to be cabled across the Atlantic. The efficiency of the Third Reich 
did not extend to monitoring. It was characteristic of the German 
Radio to prefer speaking to listening ; when it quoted from other 
networks it either distorted on purpose or misquoted by accident 
From this and the fact that it passed over good chances, we can 
conclude that Goebbels would have profited from a visit to this part 
of the country. On the other hand, he might have resented paying 
a salary to some hundreds of radio criminals when millions had 
already taken the job for nothing. 



TECHNICALITIES 183 



IV. EARS TO THE GROUND 

To find out what the audience wants to hear and what the market 
wants to buy has only recently been regarded as of serious importance. 
Until a decade ago it was left to trial and error, or to the intuitions 
of newspaper proprietors ; then the discovery of techniques which 
could produce accurate results led many people to believe they had an 
instrument of more than technical importance. Generalizing from 
their experience, advertizing agents concluded that life was a business 
of finding out what people wanted and selling it to them. They 
'allowed their sense of values to obtrude as little as possible. But 
this demand for a simple consumer-producer relationship assumes a 
great deal. It assumes that political and commercial warfare are the 
same ; that policy should abdicate in favour of consumer demands, 
that responsibility should be replaced by a technical consideration 
of what is expedient. It assumes, in fact, too much. 

Once that has been said, the importance of listener-research 
can be seen for the invaluable gadget it is. For while Lord Vansittart 
may know what is desirable to say, the European Intelligence Section 
knows what is possible. Roughly speaking the intelligence officer 
in any language can tell you who and how big your audience is, 
what would increase its size and what disperse it. He cannot do 
this as efficiently as the technicians attached to Mr. Gallup because 
he lacks the facilities ; but long experience of the country on which 
he specializes enables him to make something more than a guess 
from the evidence which passes across his desk. 

The evidence is surprisingly plentiful. Some of the most reliable 
comes from admissions made by the enemy on their radio and in the 
European press; this is called by the chief intelligence officer 
" mailing die Gestapo work for us ". For Goebbels had often to 
risk informing the Allies of the true state of affairs in Europe in order 
to remedy them. His fortnightly denunciations of our broadcasts 
showed more than that a dangerous number of people listened to 
London ; they gave dues to the efficacy of various themes. News- 
papers, of which many hundreds in all European languages are 
examined by the Intelligence Section every week, added detail and 
certainty to deductive work of this kind. Radio and press directives, 
for instance, were not always the same. In the first retreat from 



184 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

Moscow the empty items of comfort which led the radio bulletins 
and may have justified themselves to the ear, were not allowed 
the same prominence in newspapers because they lacked enough 
solidity for eyes able to re-read and ponder. The importance and 
also tic weakness of the situation in Russia could not have been 
more dearly pointed out. 

Standing outside a bookstall in Copenhagen shortly before its 
occupation by the Germans, I remember an anglophile Dane protest- 
ing violently about the dangers implicit in the Personal Advertise- 
ments of The Times. " Just look at it," he said, " don't you see that 
half of those arc probably inserted by Nazi agents and die rest give 
information which ought to be kept quiet ? " For obscure reasons 
the girl behind the counter now removed The Times from sight. 
" You see ? " said my friend " That copy's now on its way round 
to the German Embassy." His fears were, I hope, as exaggerated 
as I proceeded to assure him, but even in the most ruthlessly 
controlled press, informative leakages occur. There was, for instance, 
the addition of die word Warum ? Why ? at the end of an advertise- 
ment in the Kieler Neueste Nachrichten, announcing that a German 
father had fallen in action against the Russians. There must have 
been political as well as religious implications about that little 
word; &nd apart from their oversights, German papers had a 
more humdrum value in providing verifiable quotations, such as the 
assurance that the Soviet Air Force was annihilated in 1941, which 
could be hoarded for re-transmission at a later date. They were 
an important indication of the atmosphere in which our audiences 
lived. As a contrast the underground press which sprang up in 
nearly every country showed how they would have liked to live, 
what their real interests were and the tone of voice in which they 
spoke. A minority of these papers were virtually transcripts of 
B.B.C. broadcasts, It was, of course, the ones that differed most 
widely from the broadcasts that were of greatest interest to the 
Intelligence Section, and anything like a general contrast in any 
language between underground press and the voice of London 
was at once registered as a danger signal. 

Direct contact between an intelligence officer and his country 
was achieved in several ways. Telegrams outlining the success of 
lamming came from various points in Europe every day. Letters 
from listeners were surprisingly frequent, but some audiences were 
far better represented than others. In one rather exceptional 



TECHNICALITIES 185 

month in 1941 France produced more than four hundred ; Portugal 
regularly despatched about half as many as that, and even from 
Germany a trickle, which included a twenty-page letter from 
Berlin, continued to reach Station Beta by devious means. Few 
of these letters were of the kind normally received by a newspaper 
or radio station in peacetime ; the " fans ", the cranks, the claques 
organized by the friends of a particular contributor, relapse into 
silence when a penalty threatens them; they are replaced by 
the most serious people in the country. A spectacular change of 
this kind could best be seen in the correspondence which arrived 
from France before and after the invasion. 

Not all the European audience stayed under Hitler's control ; 
some escaped to England, and of these a high proportion were 
interviewed by the intelligence officers of Station Beta. They could 
always give detailed information about the listening habits of their 
countrymen and surprisingly often they had discussed the B.B.C. 
with the German or Italian forces of occupation. In some of the 
neutral countries surveys of the audience were undertaken on die 
spot. Information gained by these methods could, of course, be 
compiled more systematically than was possible with correspondents 
who wrote as they pleased. There were other sources that have to 
remain secret, but those I have already mentioned were, in the 
majority of countries, the most valuable. 

The labours of the Intelligence Section only began with the 
collection of this material. There were other less profitable and 
more laborious means of acquiring information such as surveying 
the enemy news agencies Transocean, Domei and Stefani, which 
repaid comparison with the internal press and radio systems. There 
was the technique of summarizing, collating and then reporting to 
the editorial staff of the language concerned. There was the distribu- 
tion of material for talks and news items. There was the never- 
ending task of impressing on other Government departments the 
importance of divulging to the B.B.C. information they felt inclined 
to keep to themselves. For all this a certain enthusiasm was needed. 
If one adds that it is above all scepticism and objectivity which are 
needed in an intelligence service, it is a considerable compliment to 
say of the B.B.C. that it was far and away the best critic of its own 
output that I have met. 



,.... % / f a us. 
,- 5! } Si! 




EUROPE UNDER THE RAUBORDNUNG 



// ne faut pas 
Dtsesptrer 
II ne faut pas 
Vous arr&er 
De rfsister ! 
N'oubliez pas 
La lettre V 
Ecrivez la! 
Chantomez la ! 
VI VI VI VI 

Les Franks patient aux Francis. 

The noble Duke of York 
He had ten thousand men* 
He marched them up to the top of the hill, 
And marched them down again. 
And when they were up, they were up, 
And when they were down, they were down, 
And when they were only half way up, 
They were neither up nor down. 

ANON, " The Noble Duke of York." 

. " We have a Chief. We have an Army. What *we want now is a people "~ 
General FRANCO, February 1942. 

WE have examined the apparatus of the scientists engaged in 
the battle for the mind of Europe ; we have analysed the gases 
to which Hitler subjected his own people and the French; we 
have observed, or at least sympathized with, the efforts of the 
allied scientists to disinfect these victims, and there remains now 
the muddle of other European races and nations, aril of them 
flattered with similar attention from opponents joined after two 
years by the massive figures of the Soviet Union and the United 
States. 

Here we are in danger of getting lost in detail. Almost all the 
two dozen languages in which the B.B.C. spoke to Europe by the 
beginning of 1942 had their separate problems of policy which arose 
from peculiarities in the audience addressed. What was the British 
attitude to revolt and sabotage ? How far should those who col- 
laborated with the Axis workers as well as bourgeoisbe threatened ? 

A single answer, or at least a single attitude, existed, but it was a 

187 




188 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

waste of time to urge Sweden and Portugal to revolt or to denounce 
the three million foreign workers in Germany when they had become 
our potential allies in sabotage in the German factories. 

Before we make a lightning tour of the national audiences we 
may note with relief that they could be addressed in the same tones 
on a surprisingly large number of subjects. There was also a single 
language which could be heard and understood. Generations of 
English businessmen, ignorant of a second tongue, had forced the 

rudiments of their own on cus- 
tomers and schoolmasters from 
Stamboul to Calais. Enough evi- 
dence accumulated from Holland 
to prove that over a tenth of the 
population listened to the B.B.C. in 
English, and although this pro- 
portion declined towards Eastern 
ARE EUROPE'S ANNOUNCERS ASLEEP? Europe, there remained a strong 
Advertisement from the Norwegian motive for the Armenians, the 

Portuguese and the Greeks to 
remember what they could of con- 
versations held with the customers of the past. There was the 
exporter of olives who wrote from an island in the &gean in August 
1940 that " we all of us are blessing that England will braik soon 
down the barbarous stuprotions whoever they action against the 
people, beastly men, mischievous and conquerors of the world." 

One of the reasons why it paid him and so many other half- 
masters in English to listen in that language was that it could not be 
effectively jammed. While one local transmitter could threaten 
languages such as Danish or the Luxembourg patois which were 
understood only in small areas, not all the technical resources of 
Hitler could dismiss an audience scattered throughout Europe. 
Jammers were, as a matter of fact, pitted against London Calling 
Europe, and the Italians tried to blot out our Home News and 
particularly the speeches of Winston Churchill; but there was 
something half-hearted in these attempts, they sounded like barristers 
who knew their case was lost. It is true that the Home News on 
long and medium waves could not effectively cover every country, 
but special English programmes, in addition to the Home and Forces, 
were beamed on short waves for the whole continent. 

In their tough* bluff, confident way these " London Calling 



EUROPE UNDER THE RAUfiORDNUNG 189 

Europe " programmes carrying the basic English message, were 
among the more impressive that went out Run by a small staff 
which edited both news and talks they had a dovetailed coherence 
and a speed of movement which combined with their confidence to 
win them a big public on both sides of the Channel. Here the 
" Man in the Street " stated his unshakeable faith in the ultimate 
victory of England, his allegiance to a standard of values which Hitler 
had rejected, his certainty that Gewaltherrschaft and Herrenvolk 
were alike doomed to failure, his sense of responsibility as a European 
after the war. Here Britain was " projected ", a civilized Britain, 
but the Britain of Winston Churchill, dogged, tough, at war. " Wait- 
ing for Hitler's Spring Offensive, are we ? " asked a worker in a tank 
factory in the interval of apparent British inaction. 

"Not in this place, we're not! We're waiting for nobody's 
offensive here, because we're launching an offensive of our own. 
The first we'll see of it won't be in black print in the headlines ; 
it'll be in blacker and blacker smoke belching from the stacks above 
us. The first we'll hear of it won't be in the news bulletins ; it'll be 
in a new high pitch in the roar of the wheels and the whine and flap 
of the driving belts. The first we'll feel of it won't be a second-hand 
thrill over someone else's deeds ; for me it'll begin here in my two 
hands." 



COLONEL BRITTON IN ENGLISH 

In the English programmes, Colonel Britton was to be heard. 
For a year, while the original V campaign was in progress, his name 
was to be found on the front page of nearly every English news- 
paper nearly every week. The fact that his photograph was absent 
and that his broadcasts were addressed to the saboteurs and passive 
resisters of Europe, turned him into a sort of Lawrence of the Ether. 
According to the New Yorker, he gave an " invisible " interview in 
which he was separated from the journalist 
which he revealed nothing of much int 
ysed. " The Colonel," declared the 
* Norweh ' and ' dyah ' for * spearl 
But this, he decided, was an inconclusiv 
B.B.C. microphone. One bad guess ' 
Kirkpatrick, Controller of the 




190 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

irritation at the whole business made the editor of the Nineteenth 
Century dismiss his gallant men as " the bogus V Army ". 

Without the glamour of a screen, I have found Colonel Britton 
a modest and preoccupied person who referred neither to " spyah- 
haids " nor spearheads, but worried a great deal about the dilemma 
in which his job placed him* For the propaganda he carried out 
was as strictly operational as the German campaign against France, 
but with the difference that he was unsupported by secret weapons, 
tanks or even a modest machine-gun. He was just a voice, and it 
would have needed a believer in miracles worked by pure propa- 
ganda to have envied him his position. In his favour was the fact that 
hundreds of thousands of men and women were ready to risk death 
at a word, but against him was the certainty that unsupported by 
anything but words those people would die in vain. " The brake 
and the accelerator at the same time," he used to say, " that's the 
problem we're up against." It was one which had bothered a former 
Duke of York. 

But within the limits of its dilemma the V campaign was a very 
real success. Colonel Britton could not hope to achieve revolution, 
nor did he try, but he did prepare the ground by damaging the 
morale of the German forces of occupation, helping resistance to 
coalesce and spreading minor guerilla warfare which had concrete 
results. To the listener in England it may have sounded pretentious 
and vague when he quietly told the audience beyond the Channel : 
" You are the unknown soldiers. Millions of you. Men and women. 
A great silent army, wailing and watching. The night is your 
friend. The V is your sign." But the point was a real one, for 
countless letters had shown the sense of isolation which oppressed 
the enemies of Hitler, the feeling of helplessness which paralysed 
them. The V campaign broke the isolation and suggested certain 
outlets. 

Other centuries have seen movements sweep to success under 
the aegis of a simple and visible symbol. In hoc signo vinces, 
were the words of Constantine's vision before he advanced under 
the sign of the Cross to make Christianity the official religion of the 
Roman Empire. It was one of the soundest of Hitler's intuitions 
that made h"T> adopt a simple and meaningless swastika as the focal 
point of National Socialist propaganda, for his generation had taken 
to wearing almost any symbol of corporate loyalty in their button- 
holes. These marks become a focus and stimulant to the emotions. 



EUROPE UNDER THE RAUBORDNUNG 191 

They delight the students of Pavlov in their exact correspondence 
to the coloured disc or the ringing bell in their master's experiments* 
Hold up the crooked cross or the V and in the mind of the beholder 
a whole set of associations come to life and win new strength which 
would otherwise ebb away. The V, one must add, gets high 
marks from the Freudians not only for its great simplicity but for 
some specially encouraging symbolism they detect in it 

The B.B.C.'s part in building up the associations which grew 
around this letter began with a sentence spoken by a broadcaster 
in Radio Belgique in January 1941. " I suggest/' he said, " that 
you should use the letter V as a rallying sign, because V stands for 
' Victoirc ' in French and * Vryheid ' in Flemish," One week later 
a correspondent in the north of France described how thousands of 
" little Vs " were springing up on all sides, because French listeners, 
he pointed out, listened to Radio Belgique as well as Belgians. 

There had been scores, even hundreds of symbols of resistance 
before the B.B.C. sponsored the V ; paper-clips in die buttonhole, 
letters such as R.A.F., words like Vive de Gaulle they produced 
something of the confused impression to be seen on the chalked 
telegraph posts of France before the war. Now the V won, " In 
reply to your desire to know if the walls, pavements, doors, etc, 
are covered with big Vs," wrote a Marseilles correspondent in March, 
" there is not a single space without than ". That spring, flowers 
were planted in the significant shape ; ships off the Norwegian 
coast flashed the letter in Morse. A fortnight after Colonel Britton 
put out the V in sound, an announcer at Hilversum played Beethoven's 
Symphony in C Minor in a programme where its emphatic statement 
of the same idea was so out of place that it was interrupted. In 
August a bomber dropping leaflets on Paris flashed the letter towards 
the ground and watched the city reply with many Vs from cars and 
windows. 

Colonel Britton made it his business to attach precise associations 
in addition to the strong but vague background of faith in victory. 
In his first broadcast he suggested details of practical sabotage, the 
hiding of nickel, copper, leather, rubber, as well as moral sabotage 
such as the mass desertion of cafes when Germans entered. He 
launched a " Go slow " campaign which had its immediate con- 
sequences but was, in his words, " only a foretaste, a drill for otfaor 
more resdutecoJk^ve action when the time con^ The sugges- 
tions were always concrete j workers, he uiged, should, according 



VOICES IN THE SWUtNESS 

to their fob, lose tifflr tools, cause bi^^downs and muddles in offices, 
make miscalculations, send tetters to wrong addresses and make 



There was ample evidence of success. Copper and nickel coins 
disappeared as if they had lost their value. " There are Vs every- 
where," wrote a Parisian. " Last Friday at the Montparnasse 
underground they had no small change in nickel at all. By the way, 
make it clear that we must hide all the nickel coins, or else only the 
one sou pieces will disappear." Within a month the Norwegian 
paper Frederikstad Blad reported that krone and fifty ore pieces 
bad totally disappeared. 

Later in the year Colonel Britton began to introduce the Allied 
leaders at the same time as he listed and attacked Quislings. Winston 
Churchill sent a message ; Dr. Benes asked workers " to slow up the 
war machine as far as is consistent with personal safety " ; the 
Foreign Ministers of Greece and Poland spoke. The strongest 
advice came from Sir Stafford Cripps early in 1942 when he came 
to the microphone with the hard-hitting atmosphere of Russian 
propaganda around him. " Strike now," he said, " strike silently, 
swiftly and again and again. Repeat the blows small or great and 
know in your hearts that we stand by you cheering you on and 
strengthened by your courage." 

The original V campaign ended in May 1942 when Colonel 
Britton explained that he would not speak again " until die moment 
comes to indicate a particular line of action which is needed. I 
cannot tell you what that line will be," he went on. " Until that 
moment comes I shall be working with my colleagues and advisers 
on the plans." It seems safe to assume that the dilemma in which he 
had found himself from the start had persuaded him to hold his 
hand. For much had happened in that year. While he had advised 
unremitting caution, there had always been fighters for freedom 
who disregarded such advice. Shootings and executions multiplied 
until the firing squads had a daily task. To have advocated concrete 
resistance when it was already being carried beyond die limits of 
personal safety, would have been strange unless the end of the war 
had been in sight. 

There remains one interesting incident in the V campaign. In 
1941 Colonel Britton announced the ** mobilization " of the V army, 
for July 20. It woiild be die date, he dedared" of Europe's mobiliza- 
tion against the Germans." These words, which might ha ve meant 



EUROPE UNDER THE RAUBOaUJNUNG 193 

little or much, alanncd the German Propaganda Ministry into ai* 
attempt to adopt the V sign as their own. Articles appeared m 
nearly every newspaper in Europe chaining that the letter stood for 
the German Viktoria. A huge V was hung on the Eiffel Tower by 
ffrf. High Command fl*iH the sound was adopted as an A ^cifll interval 
signal on the radio. " The idea," said Radio Paris, au plus grind 
strieux, " first dawned in the mind of a little tank driver who decorated 
his vehicle with the V surrounded with laurels and completed it 
with die swastika ".* For some weeks this artificial controversy 
on origins was kept going. It was badly co-ordinated Bremen, 
for instance, admitted that " it was the English who started this V 
business ",* but there was enough argument and official adoption of 
the letter to cause confusion as well as the ridicule which was the 
response of most people in most countries. In Brussels below a 
German notice : V MEANS GERMAN VICTORY ON ALL FRONTS, 
a small boy summed up by adding: V MEANS JACKIE'S BIRTHDAY 
TOMORROW. 

This trick of the German propaganda machine has been dismissed 
by most people as a failure and a farce, but my own view is that it 
was intelligent. Nothing caused such distress to the much invoked 
dogs of Pavlov as the abrupt alteration of the idea with which a 
stimulus was associated- if the food, for instance, which generally 
came with the ringing of a bell, was replaced by a mild electric 
shock. In such circumstances the laws of the universe seemed to 
qollapse and future reactions were more hesitant. One does .not 
laboriously build up images and feelings around an idea to have them 
replaced, however clumsily, by their opposites. But it was not this 
unexpected accident that damaged the V campaign so much as the 
conditions underlying it. In petty sabotage and the undermining 
of German morale it was demonstrably a success. As an example 
of political warfare in the major sense it was premature for the reason 
that it was operating without support from the air, sea or land. 



COLONEL STEVENS IN ITALIAN 

Of the special problems of broadcasting to the occupied tern* 
tones, Italy presented one of the most difficult In fact an enemy 

/ l JUdio Parif, July 20, 1941. Bremen in Bngiish, July 29* 1941. 



194 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

of ours, but only in theory a friend of Germany's, she was held down 
forcibly by the Gestapo after herself being the first country to accept 
Fascism. To magnify any of these peculiarities was dangerous. 
The Italians were unlikely to carry out an anglophile revolution 
in 1940 or 1941. Indeed, their supposed love of England loomed too 
big in the mind of the traveller who had owned a villa at Porto 
Fino or scaled Vesuvius on the Cook's Funicular. He was apt 
to mistake Mediterranean courtesy for political devotion. 1 But 
if it was ridiculous to speak to the Italians as dependents, it 
would have been more dangerous to acquire the Wop-mindedness 
of Fleet Street and denounce them as a nation of cowardly 
organ-grinders who had put on fancy dress for what they 
imagined to be a party. There were reasons why the Italian 
microphone of the B.B.C. was not a place for relaxation into 
fantasy. 

One of them was that Italy listened in. The very small proportion 
of wireless sets with which she started was nearly doubled in the two 
years after the invasion of Poland. Over half of these could receive 
short Waves. 1 

Apart from Ansaldo with his special taste for Jeremiads, the 
speakers on the Italian Radio had an unsatisfyingly light-headed 
attitude to the war. " Bolshevism is not even a social danger/ 9 
said the leader-writer and commentator, Mario Appelius, " it is 
simply an invitation to madness. The struggle against Bolshevism 
is therefore essentially a crusade of civilization. 99 In this scatter- 
brained fashion which had characterized her radio offensive against 
France, the whole propaganda war was conducted. Counter-attacks 
would be loosed off without any other motive than to relieve irritation. 
Replying in Italian to Cincinatti, Rome Radio would string sentences 
together quite wildly. 

1 Popolo d* Italia, April 23, 1941 : " Those groups of bespectacled, decrepit, 
arrogant, mummified and single-minded readers of out-of-date copies of The Times, 
took the best rooms in the hotels, special dishes at the inns they visited, the best 
places in the cafe's. Now they have gone so much the better for the dogs of ttngifmdj 
for the damp cottages, the stiff pretentious Clubs, the Salvation Army and for 
the pubs of puritanical London with their naked and drunken dancers, all the better 
for us that we shall never again see those f- boors wh* put their anthropo- 
morphic feet on the table like so many animals." 

According to Rome Radio, May 5, 1942, the official figure for Italian radio 
licences had risen to nearly two millions from 1,130,540 in'December 2939. This 
was the biggest increase in any country, and the proportion of sets with shortwave 
binds was authoritatively assessed at 70 per cent. 



EUROPE UNDER THE RAUBORDNUNG 195 

To destroy the Axis more is needed than the comic chatter put 
'out daily by Radio-Stupidity. As good Christians, we urge those 
gentlemen to do us a favour : let them tell lies but not overdo it ! 
' We like to hate them, but despising them is too big an affair! Italian- 
speaking gentlemen of Radio Gntinatti, if you cannot be less 
infamous, at least be more serious ! 1 

The only interesting propaganda trick I came across was the 
invariable prefix of the phrase " in the underground premises of" 
to references to the House of Commons, a legislative body which 
must have become in the Italian mind a group of Carbonari conspiring 
in a cellar. 

For a year after the attack on France there was no co-ordination 
with the German Radio, and contradictory accounts of the same event 
were repeatedly put out by the two systems. As the internal Italian 
situation deteriorated, this independence gradually disappeared. 
Charles Barbe, who remained as an American commentator in 
Rome almost up to the time the United States entered the war, 
has described how the censorship of his scripts suddenly became 
intelligent and severe in the middle of June 1941. He found the 
explanation when the Chief of the Radio Division of the Ministry 
for Popular Culture showed him a telephone bulletin which, 
he explained, came every day from Berlin with a full statement 
of the subjects which could and could not be discussed by Rome 
Radio. 

In the interests of propaganda efficiency this of course meant a 
turn for the better. Co-ordination was improved and more and more 
time was spent in answering the B.B.C. Extreme methods were 
resorted to in an effort to offset psychologically the material disrup- 
tion inside the country. " Just to give you an idea of the havoc 
wrought in London by the justified reprisals of the Luftwaffe," 
said Rome Radio a full year after the raids had stopped, 

" the value of the material obtained from the demolition of bombed 
buildings amounts to several million pounds. The bricks alone 
amount to over 100,000,000. This should be enough for you to 
visualize what London looks like. If anyone should be interested in 
the astronomic increase in the cost of living in England, here is an 
extract from an article in a London paper and literally translated : 
Five shillings were given for one egg yesterday and one pound sterling 
for a kilogram of potatoes. . . . There is no sugar on the market^ 

1 Rome Radio, January 27, 1942. 



VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

although smaU quantities are still to fa fowd at prohibitive prices 

Butter is made entirely with lactic acid and mutton fat . Beer i$ poison 
and wine #n alcoholic mixture. 

It was not surprising that Italians listened to foreign stations on 
what sets they had In the tradition of generations spent under 
unending censorship, they also spread what they heard Sentences 
were never as severe as in Germany, but they were increased in two 
jumps, first a few hours after the opening of hostilities with Russia 
and again in die following year when the prospect of victory seemed 
hopeless. Catholics, workers, small shopkeepers all appeared 
among the prosecutions. At the end of 1941 the Corriere delta Sera 
described how " a group of people in the act of listening to the 
enemy's broadcasts " were surprised by the Carabinieri in a newly- 
built quarter of workers' dwellings on the outskirts of Milan. 

Another prosecution was reported from Gorizia where an 
agricultural labourer and a parish priest were sentenced, the priest 
being guilty of " listening to the B.B.C. and spreading the news ". 
There was a ladies' hairdresser of Santa Margherita Ligure who 
was sentenced to two months and ten days imprisonment for 
listening to the B.B.C. and " distributing to his clients slips of 
paper with the wavelengths of London, Moscow and Cairo stations ".* 
But the most interesting case was heard in Florence just two years 
after Italy had entered the war. Fascist Italy, one must remember, 
was a " young and virile " land whose radio criminals were ostens- 
ibly to be found only among the senile. But here, as in the Third 
Reich, those who should have been developing into good Fascists 
had at last begun listening to the outside world. That may have 
been one reason why two brothers aged nineteen and twenty were 
given unusually severe prison sentences, but another, more signifi- 
cant reason for their guilt was that they had listened " together with 
other minors ".* Groups were being formed, and the groups were 
no longer Fascist. 

There were many other less specific examples of indifference 
to the authorities. The German Propaganda Ministry had shown 
more foresight in pushing the "People's Receiver" than the 
Italians in allowing a majority of short-wave sets to be sold. They 
occasionally tried to atone for it Another Florentine was ordered 
to take his set to the police and on its return found it incapable of 
receiving anything but the local station. If the stable door could not 

1 Stamps February 26, 1942. * Gaxttta d*l Popoh, June 3, 1942. 



EUROPE UNDER THE RAUBORDNUNG 

be shut after the horse had bolted, there was some point in attempts 
at castration* 

Easily favourite among the foreign stations was die B.B.C. 
The neutrality of Switzerland made her seem more accurate, but less 
interesting, and a minority listened to Moscow. Italy was far from 
the most promising European audience for Soviet broadcasts; 
the Catholic influence was against them, and Fascist propaganda for 
what it was worth had worked on the subject for a score of years. 
A slight trace of scorn in the announcer's voice was the only com- 
ment thought necessary in broadcasting as an anti-British news 
item Anthony Eden's message of appreciation to Molotov on his 
return from Moscow. 1 

To what did London owe its prestige ? In part, certainly, to 
the attraction that opposite characters fed for one another. For in 
spite of furious propaganda and a natural resentment against our 
tourists, the Italians 9 admiration for the resistance of the British 
was in direct ratio to their hatred of the German neo-tourists. 
" The B.B.C. should have its place in future history books side by 
side with the fighting forces," wrote one correspondent in 1941* 
" The regular way it has carried on, even during the autumn months 
of 1940 while bombs could often be heard falling in the distance, the 
almost unbelievably short time London was ever off the air, and the 
fact that the voices broadcasting never once changed their tone or 
faltered all this is the admiration of everyone." It was the familiar 
event, which we shall now stop tracing in other countries, of the 
British ordeal by fire sending her stock up to a point where it stood 
before appeasement had begun. 

There were charges that our news was inaccurate. Reports of 
riots in Milan, that a factory between Genoa and Alassio had been 
effectively bombed, were ascribed to the B.B.C., investigated by 
local inhabitants and denounced as inventions. Where so much 
of the news circulation depended on repetition in shops and cafiSs by 
word of mouth, it is surprising that far graver charges were not 
brought. Similar criticisms were made against the news services in 
other languages, and in so far as the exaggeration took place at die 
listener's end, where the temptation of wishful thinking was much 
greater than in Station Beta, there was nothing the B.B.C. could do 
about it. The standard of accuracy became, I think, more fanatical 
than that of a newspaper of integrity, but something impossibly 
1 Rome Radio, December 3i 1941. 



198 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

more was needed when local sleuths could check the impressions 
of a pilot over Milan while the gossips of Capri widened each crack 
we found in the regime they, hated. 

From the talks which won the B.B.G credit in Italy there stood 
out above all the personality of Colonel Stevens. There were other 
speakers : Candidas, an Italian, persuasive, witty and vituperative, 
who could speak aa an Italian deploring the disastrous position of 
his country ; and Cittadino Britanmco who gave the English point 
of view. But Colonel Stevens was reported by a traveller who left 
the northern part of the country in September 1941 as " the most 
popular figure in all Italy ". This was presumably an exaggeration ; 
but one would have been hard put to choose a rival from Italian 
politics, and from the surprisingly large number of letters that 
reached London it seems that he made a bigger and more favourable 
impression than any other purely radio-personality in the war. 

His talks were news comments which would not stand up to 
print Beginning at Christmas 1939, their number gradually in- 
creased to four a week. Structurally Italian, there was yet some- 
thing H n glfoh in the detached and casual friendliness of their manner. 
He talked to his audience as responsible for the war in that they 
continued to tolerate the Fascist regime, but he was ready enough, 
at least by implication, to put that passive attitude down to their 
blindness in not seeing clearly the cause of their predicament. The 
German occupation, the military and naval disasters, corruption 
and the economics of scarcity, even the bad quality of the armour- 
plating on their battleships, were all directly traceable to Mussolini 
and his regime. They were none of them necessary. 

Mussolini must have known that the war was lost for Italy before 
even embarking on it. It was lost on the cornfields. The "battle of 
the grain " has been fought for the last ten years under the orders of 
Mussolini, who urged it on with words, words, words. He sowed not 
grain but wind, and now he reaps the whirlwind. 

Clear, simple, strong, with the dryness I have mentioned 
challenging the Italian tendency to tolerate the war with fatalistic 
jokes, it was his manner, in my opinion, which made Colonel Stevens 
into the success he was. In Italy he became known as Colanello 
Buonasera from his habit of casually saying " Good evening " and 
" Good night ". The characteristic attitude of " fans " developed : 
" ... we all rush to the set and when he says his ' Bum giorno ' 



EUROPE UNDER THE RAUBORDNUNG 199 

or * Buona sera f , we all answer in chorus * Buona sera, ColoniUo I ' " 
This enthusiasm gave a useful indication of the inefficacy of Italian 
jamming early in the war when one listener asked him to acknowledge 
the receipt of the letter he was smuggling out by saying " Buona 
sera " rather more loudly than usual* 

The Italian Radio usually replied less with arguments than with 
personal abuse endorsing, perhaps, my own interpretation of his 
success. Formerly the Italian military attache in Rome, Colonel 
Stevens had two married sisters in Italy with sons in the Italian 
forces. It was one of the opportunities that Italian propaganda did 
not neglect. 

When, at the end of 1942, British and American armies stood 
opposite the Italian mainland on the coast of Africa, American 
propaganda to the Italians took on a stronger emphasis. To the 
" true patriots " of the free, friendly Italian nation who rose against 
the Fascists, Assistant Secretary of State Adolf A. Berle promised 
that " the armies of America and the United Nations are behind 
you ". The Wop-mindedness of Fleet Street had become a thing 
of the past. 



THE FULLY OCCUPIED 

IN die totally occupied countries the demands made on foreign 
broadcasts were tremendous. We have seen the enthusiasm that 
existed in France for the B.B.C. in the period after the Armistice 
before the Nazi heel began to grind into its victim ; but that service 
was in its way the finest in the world, and the conditions in which 
its audience lived were luxurious compared, for instance, with those 
of Poland in die east. Germany did not deign to revive the Polish 
broadcasting system after her victory, and a similar suppression of 
national culture was carried out at once and ruthlessly in every 
cranny of the land There had been a million wireless sets when the 
invasion began. Of these all but a few thousand -owned by German 
citizens or by Poles on the western frontier who chose to become 
Reichsdeutsche were immediately confiscated by decree. News 
and spiritual nourishment had nevertheless to be got, and the only 
channel was by radio. 

Over one hundred and fifty underground newspapers based on 
radio news are known to have been published in Poland. But 
on the average a score of executions for listening were carried 
out every month, and many of the editors were shot. The 
B.B.C.'s broadcasts in Polish were not noticeably inspired, and 
at the beginning of the war serious criticism came from the 
listeners. The problem of speaking to a handful of men about 
to die here reached an intensity for which improvement of the 
service was no final solution. " It would drive me mad to miss 
a single broadcast from London/' wrote a Czech. " London is 
the only thing to feed the soul." But the situation put greater 
demands on the radio than this ; to Greece it needed to be bread, 1 
to Poland life itself. 

In the majority of countries she invaded Germany claimed that 
she had a positive message. Appearances were against it. " A 
tower race needs less room, less clothing, less food and less culture 
than a higher race," said Dr. Ley. " The German cannot live in the 

1 An arrival from Belgium, where the lack of food was not quite as bad, 
showed the same attitude when he called London broadcasts "im alimtnt, 
presqut". 

400 



THE FULLY OCCUPIED aoi 

same fashion as the Pole and the Jew." l But there were degrees of 
lowliness, shown in the amount of German Mood diagnosed by 
geo-politicians like Rosenberg and Haushofer in the veins of die 
conquered race. The Scandinavians, die Flemings, the Sudeten** 
bad quite a streak of it, and this qualified them for die role of poor 
relatives who would be acknowledged as such in return for a recanta- 
tion of their former nationality. The same role fitted the positive 
economic theory, which had indeed one of those flashes of modernism 
often to be seen like a bare and surprising electric light in the Gothic 
dungeons of Nazi ideology. For Europe, ran the argument, was 
economically one instead of the twenty odd states it had been 
hitherto; it needed to work as one and submit to a common 
organization. This, it so happened, could be best carried out 
by Germany, and an ideal arrangement was for industry to 
be centralized in the Reich while the rest of Europe became a 
surrounding agricultural province which could fortunately spare 
some millions of workers for the central workshops. Culturally 
the same pattern was valid. What was German in foreign cultures 
should be held up and proudly exaggerated; what was native 
should be suppressed. 

This, the positive German war aim, was propagated in varying 
degrees of crudity by the radio systems of the occupied countries 
nowhere else with such comparative subtlety as by Radio Paris, 
nor, at the other extreme, with the uncompromising volleys of the 
execution squads in Poland. 

The listener inevitably felt himself degraded. He would hear, 
in Flemish, a running commentary on the departure of the 25O,oooth 
Belgian worker to Germany who in the Gare du Nord at Brussels 
German officers and high officials from Berlin were drawn up with 
representatives of German industry while the worker, Jan Arys of 
Ganshoren, was handed a gold watch and diploma and conducted 
to a second-class compartment specially decorated for the occasion. 
Enthusiasm for this kind of broadcasting on either side of the 
microphone is difficult to sustain. We have seen how the quality of 
the German Radio itself sank lower and lower under the deadening 
weight of directives ; but the converted home services of the occupied 

1 The semi-official Zcitschrtftftir PoUtik went further than this when it declared 
late in 1942 that " the survival of certain nations, even as slave states, may be 
dangerous for the Herrenvolk. Historical experience has proved that the total 
annihilation of a foreign people and their culture is not contrary to die laws of 
life provided it is total." 



202 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

countries never came to life. The voices were tired, resigned, 
defeated. Max Blokzijl, an ageing Dutch Nazi broadcaster who 
had spent longer than was good for him as a newspaper correspondent 
in Berlin, answered his opponents so weakly that one wondered 
whether after all he was not on their side. " The Dutch press," 
he said, " has recently published obituary notices of Dutch National 
Socialist volunteers who have Men on the Eastern front. I have 
received several such notices cut from papers with remarks written 
on diem such as : c Good ! A thousand more like him ought to be 
killed / ' Now," he commented in his ageing, querulous tones, " is 
this not scandalous ? " 

Colonel Moravec, the Propaganda Minister in Prague and 
author of a wartime book, Three Years at the Microphone, did 
not even rise above his melancholy to celebrate the victories 
of his masters. Slow, letting his voice drop to inaudibility at 
the end of a sentence, he claimed only to be someone who had 
accepted the permanent reality of defeat. " I am doing this not 
out of love for the Germans," he admitted, " but because it is 
what reality looks like and because people who want to live must 
face reality as it is." 

Had this propaganda been confined to the radio, the demands 
made on foreign broadcasts might have been less severe, but in 
the cinemas of Europe it assailed the eyes as well as the ear from 
films directed in Germany with enthusiasm ; universities, churches, 
trade unions, were purged of their officials of integrity and had 
their functions perverted in the same sense ; national schoolbooks 
were revised and converted into National Socialist tracts. Even 
the atmosphere of cafes, which had been so intense a part of 
die national cultures, was liable to be disrupted at any moment 
by the / invasion of German soldiers weighted uneasily with 
power. 

The people of Europe went to their radio sets with taut emotions, 
ready to cry with joy or grief; like lovers, they were irritated to 
distraction if the postman fumbled or delivered the wrong letter, 
but were ready to throw their arms around his neck and kiss him for 
dexterity. Fortunately the B.B.C. behaved with a mixture of calm, 
enthusiasm and dignity ; but a glance at all the letters it received in 
exchange would not have suggested this from them it seemed that 
the B.B.C. had shown genius of the highest order with occasional 
lapses into blade-hearted villainy. 



THE FULLY OCCXJPIED 203 



L THE WESTERN SEABOARD 

Norway, the first victim after Poland, developed into the most 
complete and exclusive audience on the continent. There was a 
period of bitter disillusionment after the failure of our expeditionary 
force, whose prospects had seemed too bright to the B.B.C. as well as 
to the other news agencies outside Germany. Then as confidence 
returned, the Deutsche Zeitung in Norwegen noted with surprise 
and gratification that the number of registered wireless listeners was 
increasing by three thousand a week. Most of the sets came from 
Holland and Germany. But a Norwegian who escaped to America 
explained that " no propaganda works any more, nobody reads any 
newspapers or listens to any radio except the B.B.C." l It was a 
conclusion at which the High Command itself reluctantly arrived in 
August 1941 when a decree published by Terboven forbade the 
manufacture, sale or possession of radio sets in the western, southern 
and eastern coastal districts including Oslo. Here at last was the 
admission that English propaganda had become more potent than 
German. The decree inevitably failed like any other form of 
radio defence". Underground newspapers, less elaborate and 
based more exclusively on the B.B.C. 's news than the Polish sheets, 
sprang up everywhere. J. Schanche Jonasen, former editor of a 
Liberal paper, has told me how he helped to found one of them 
while in prison under the eyes of the Gestapo. It was called 
Prison Post and circulated in most of the prisons and concentra- 
tion camps. Some of these accounts of running a newspaper from 
the radio news sound like ancient Norse legends. " I stood on 
the storm-swept headland somewhere in Northern Norway with a 
fisherman," said one editor who escaped. 

" I had been hunted for days and found shelter in his home. It was 
night, the wind swept through the pines and stars shone in a black 
sky. It was time for the news, the fisherman said quietly. He led 
the way down to his boat, we jumped in and rowed into the storm. . . . 
Nearly an hour later a hump loomed up out of the blackness a tiny 
island. There were several boats in a small cove and low voices came 

1 In fact, Boston had a very good audience in Norway. The only drawback to 
its sober news and well-presented talks and musk was that they did not come 
from London. Also, of course, it could only be had on short waves. 



<c 



204 VOICES IK THE DARKNESS 

from a hole in the ground. We crawled in. On a shelf stood a fine 
radio set, its green eye and lit dial the only light in the cave that 
and the glow of several pipes. Then there was silence as the London 
announcer's voice was heard it was the midnight news." 

At the end of 1941 a German firing squad shot the middle-aged 
teacher, Ingvald Garbo at Bergen for failing to surrender his set and 
distributing the B.B.C news with the help of Norwegian students. 
In fact it transpired later that Garbo was executed because at his 
court-martial he insisted on accusing his judges. They were criminal, 
he said, in not informing even the German troops of the real trend of 
the war, and as long as that situation lasted he would make it his 
business to distribute the news among them as well as among the 
Norwegians. But executions for listening were rare in Norway, 
although they were often threatened. More often the news-sheet 
editors were sentenced to four or five years 9 imprisonment, frequently 
in the concentration camps of Germany. It was not until November 
1942 that Terboven was reduced to imposing the death penalty on 
all listeners by decree. 

In Denmark, as long as it remained the model garden village 
of the New Order, there was no listening ban. Automatically 
because of this and the corresponding lack of cultural and economic 
persecution, there was an absence of passionate devotion to the 
radio. London had a many times bigger audience than Bremen, 
and effective jammers were at work in Copenhagen, but radio- 
dealers thought the number of listeners could be increased. In 
the appeasement paper Politiken one of them inserted an advertise- 
ment of spare parts for short-wave reception. It ran : " ' Blah, 
Blah, Blah, everywhere ! ' says Mr. Nielsen hopelessly. ' I really 
must get a short-wave accessory for my radio/ " 

Ruthless measures of persuasion were not used to bring Danish 
workers to Germany, but large numbers arrived. One, who 
subsequently reached England, gave a good deterrent broadcast in 
the Danish service. " First of all/' he said, " I want to emphasize 
that the Danish workers came to Germany under false pretences. 

Most of them had been promised work in a certain firm, but were 
in fact sent to other places. Most of them were sent out to do road 
work under the military authorities and the food they got was far from 
sufficient. Most of them had been promised 90 pfennigs to I mark 
an hour, but were only given 75 pfennigs. I have seen for myself 
how they lived in Kid. They are billeted in barracks without accest 



la Holland and Belgium listening to the B.B.C. was a normal 
and almost universal practice. 1 A Dutchman in a German Infantry 
Division interrogated by the Red Army said : " In spite of the fact 
that in Holland listening to foreign broadcasts is punishable by 
death, people always tune in to English broadcasts. Many are 
caught, but a whole people cannot be caught." 2 In fact there had been 
no executions at the time he said this, and prison sentences were 
relatively light, but a certain amount of success was had with 
whispers of miraculous detection apparatus. A Belgian officer 
reported tales of an instrument which when pressed against 'the 
wall of a house " registered " the station being listened to inside, 
and a still more ingenious invention was said to be put in letter- 
boxes and to record automatically the sounds coming from the 
householder's loudspeaker. Children had to learn not to give away 
their parents. A few months after the invasion a Dutch teacher 
asked his form whether any of them listened to English broadcasts. 
A young girl got up and said, " A man who asks such questions is a 
traitor ! " 

Both the Dutch and Belgian services had programmes of their 
own : the Dutch Government's Radio Orange, the Belgians' Radio 
Belgique, which went out in French and Flemish on alternate days, 
and a broadcast to Dutch seamen called de Brandons after the famous 
lighthouse. The two last of these had some of the most fiery and 
original broadcasting in the European service. All had their admirers, 
but interspersed with them were others who disliked their association 
with the unmodified regime of the past. " One thing is absolutely 
certain," said a writer from Antwerp in the summer of 1941. " It 
is that practically no Belgian wishes to return to the old regime." 
A Belgian officer declared that while his countrymen admired the 
discipline and organizing genius of the Germans, they detested the 
lack of liberty, the uniformity and the interference of the State in 
private life ; they wanted something " which is not the New Order, 
but is certainly not a return to the old ". There was also a certain 

1 In Holland probably less than half the sets could receive short waves ; but in 
Belgium rather more than half. 

1 Sovitt War Ntm, October 15, 1942. 



206 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

amount of resentment against political speakers who had escaped 
the rigours of German occupation and had not themselves joined 
the Free Belgian Forces. 

Parallel criticisms were made of Radio Orange, which had a more 
" official " atmosphere ; but it would be a mistake to think the 
aides were as numerous as the devotees. According to an American 
report, die prison of Schevcningen became known as the " Orange 
Hotel ", and while inside it the prisoners could still, as in Norway, 
tell each other what had been said from London on the same day. 



II. TOWARDS THE SOVIET UNION 

In the west the B.B.C. had something like a monopoly of the 
radio audience. America, particularly the station of Boston, came 
second, while Moscow seems to have had small groups of listeners 
who were not interested in other sources. In the east this picture 
changed. There was no smooth transition which could be calculated 
by the number of miles separating the listener from London or 
Moscow. Sweden, for instance, still sympathized with the gesture 
of Charles the Twelfth outside the Stockholm Opera as he urges 
traffic and passers-by to advance against the barbarians on the far 
side of the Baltic. Roumanians shared this feeling of hereditary 
antagonism and liked to listen to the B.B.C. in French as well as 
their own language. But in Poland complications set in, and by 
the time we reach Bulgaria, the Russian monoply is as great as the 
B.B.C's in Norway or Holland. 

Czechoslovakia was one of the most interesting audiences in 
Europe because of its readiness to take action. Executions for 
listening and spreading the news were frequent, and set confiscations 
took place in whole districts of Prague. But here, in spite of the scar 
left by the Munich Conference, Moscow still came second to the 
B.B.C. A neutral traveller who left two months before the invasion 
of Russia reported that " it is especially the London transmission 
which today is of tremendous importance in keeping up the spirit of 
the people. It is absolutely necessary to have a message of President 
Benes made from London at least once in six weeks." 

Benes spoke with the authority of one of Europe's major states- 
men. " We bow in grief before the coffins of these dead," he 



THE FULLY OCCUPIED 207 

said, in his calm, sympathetic tones after the early executions 
of hostages. 

- " But their death has accomplished a great task and will have a great 
mission. It has destroyed at a blow the treacherous cajoling and 
fraudulent manoeuvres of Ncurath, who for three years wished to 
win you over by fair words, and it has again, and thoroughly, opened 
the eyes of the world. It has again shown that the whole Czechoslovak 
nation is with Britain and Russia and especially that it is with its 
London Government. ... Be firm and determined, friends 1 We 
. are on the right path and the right side of the front." l 

Moscow would repeat in full these speeches of the Czech Ministers 
in London, adding to them more direct appeals for sabotage and 
desertion : 

Now the battle against bloody Fascism must be revived. You must 
know that every shell you produce in the Skoda works or the 
Zbrojovka Armament Plant might kill a Czech or Slovak soldier. 
Sabotage your war production. Perform your national duty. 
. Imagine that you have just been called up. Czech men and youth, 
get into the ranks. 1 . 

The B.B.C's broadcasts that autumn continued to draw more 
fire than Moscow from the Czech radio and press. They were more 
cautious in calling for overt resistance, since their instructions would 
have been obeyed, with devastating results for the Czechs. .On a 
small scale this had happened in 1940 when one broadcast was 
misunderstood as a demand for immediate revolt, and some sixty 
workers were shot. Minor operational instructions, such as an 
appeal to boycott the press made in September 1941, were invariably 
carried out To boost the toppling circulations that resulted the 
Czech Radio submitted to the indignity of trailing and advertising 
the next day's papers. "A terrible disaster has befallen the 
Swedish Navy/' it would say, " details will be found in the 
newspapers ". 

In 1941 the B.B.C. attacked a group of the Quisling editors 
by name. Among them was Laznovsky, editor of Ceske SIovo. 
Several of those journalists became seriously ill from poisoning 
after a banquet, and on the night of October 10 Laznovsky died. 
The Czech Radio at once accused the B.B.C. of assassination* 
"The foreign wireless has long been vulgarly inciting against 

1 B.B.C., October 27, 2942. B Moscow Radio, July 21, 1941. 



Ittf VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

this gioup of editors,^ it wud " It hts demanded that they should 
be put out of the way. The connection is dear." * 

He case with which power could be attributed to the B.B.C. 
wheait in fact lay 10 the pent-up fcdings of the oppressed population, 
could be seen a few days after Laznovsky's death in a letter published 
by his paper.* This letter had been written by the wretched man to 
" an important Czech personality " before the B.B.C. had launched 
its attack. " We are swamped with letters which make our hearts 
ache," it ran. " Insulting letters are also sent to journalists' wives, 
parents, etc. Entire families are boycotted, their members insulted 
in shops and streets, ridiculed with anecdotes and defamed with 
calumny. . . . My father, an old miner, is almost a nervous wreck." 

It was not only the renegade journalists who at times broke 
down in self-pitying lamentation. In a broadcast statement at the 
end of 1941 President Hacha himself protested more tearfully than 
in defiance, that " the London Radio has induced* individuals to 
. . . commit acts which imperil the foundations of the nation. 
The heritage which came to me would have been rubble long ago 
had I not decided to persevere on the road for which I am now 
reproached by London. Dr. Benes is more fortunate in that he 
cannot see the tears of the mothers and wives who turn to me in 
despair because their sons and husbands have fallen in disaster, led 
astray by deceptive broadcasts ".* 

Some months after the assassination of Heydrich in 2942, the 
Czech Radio announced that the families of speakers on the B.B.C. 
had been arrested and would be used for reprisals if inciting speeches 
continued. Masaryk went to the microphone next day and replied 
that the threat would be disregarded He was folio wed by the other 
Czech ministers* 

In Hungary die main weight of home prppaganda was turned 
against the Soviet Union. Listening to Moscow was banned and 
prosecutions were frequently made in the poorer districts) while 
listening to London was only frowned on. Jews were not allowed 
10 own sets at all 8 

The main Russian appeal was to Hungarian patriotism against 
the traditional German enemy. Special care was taken to cater for 
the literary tastes of the middle classes and broadcasts to youth 

1 Mclnik, October n, 2941. * Czech Radio, December 6, 1941. 

* Other partt of Europe where the anti-Semitic radio ban was in force included 
lfa%ifin> Rotunania* Slovakia* Holland* and parts of France. 



EUROPE'S ELDER SPOKESMEN 




Above : President BENES, Czechoslovakia. 
Left : General SIMOVITCH, Jugoslavia. 




THE FULL Y OCCUPIED 309 

included Hungarian poetry and traditional songs. Wefi-taown 
Hungarian writer? and refugees came to the microphone, among tl^ 
Andr Gabor, poet, playwright, and journalist, who had been a 
violent critic of the Regent, and Rakosi, the former People's Com- 
missar, who was released from prison in die short spell of friendship 
with the U.S.S.R. and allowed to visit Moscow. Four broadcasts a 
day were given compared with the B.B.C.'s two news bulletins* 

Poland, once the Cinderella of broadcasting, became the recipient 
of five broadcasts daily from Moscow as well as from London where 
the Polish Government's Radio Polskie was included. These atten- 
tions in turn stimulated the German Radio to greater activity. 
Again the Russian appeal was nationalist. The Red Army, it 
promised, would bring freedom to a brother nation of Slavs. The 
wrongs done by Germany to Polish culture by the German occupa- 
tion were emphasized, and the Soviet Union was projected as a land 
of freedom assured of final victory. 

The B.B.C.'s best audiences in the Balkans seem to have been 
in Jugoslavia and Greece. There are even well-informed people 
toho claim that it was a broadcast by L. S. Amery that brought about 
the overthrow of the regime which submitted to the Tripartite Pact. 
I have found no proof of this, and quote instead from a broad- 
cast he made when the war was actually in progress. It was a model 
recipe for the civilian faced by enemy tanks. " The first weakness 
of the tank," he explained, " is that it requires large quantities of 
petrol and is helpless if its communications are cut 

The first object of the counter-attack against German armoured 
divisions should be their communications and depots. The next 
weakness of the tanks is that they can only move in certain limited 
directions. ... A large boulder will stop them and even small 
boulders will soon stop them by bumping and tearing their caterpillar 
tracks which are their weakest point. 

" The essential thing is, one way or another, to stop the tanks 
before you attack them. The moving tank is a terrible animal The 
tank once stopped is a helpless one waiting for its throat to be cut. . . . 
Never forget that the weakest part of the tank is die caterpillar track. 
Aim at destroying that Remember also that when you arc close to 
die side of the fypfc the enemy inside cannot point their pin* down far 
enough to hit you. . . ." 

And so on with an amount of informative detail which would, 1 
hope, be repeated in English before the invasion erf Britain timed 
into total occupation. 



210 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

Moscow devoted twice as much time as die B.B.C. to Serbo- 
Croat broadcasts, but the Belgrade paper Novo Vreme claimed that 
"British and American broadcasts are mainly responsible" for 
Serbian resistance j " Moscow is responsible in a lesser degree/' a 
statement which was at odds with the official policy of attributing 
all resistance to Communists. As a rule reference to Moscow 
broadcasts was avoided, but die speakers from London, including 
General Simovitch, the head of the Government, were threatened 
with repulsive forms of revenge. Their relatives, they were told, 
as the Czechs were later told, had been arrested among other 
hostages and would be executed if they continued to speak. After- 
wards, it was implied though never explicitly stated, that these 
executions had been carried out. 

From Greece after the occupation came accounts reminiscent of 
the enthusiasm in Norway and Holland; there was a story of 
Athenian streets where two rows of people could be seen at their 
doorways while the rest of the families listened at the radio. It 
sounds unreliable, but one of the most paradoxical facts about the 
really devoted audiences was that they grew up in countries which 
the British Expeditionary Force had been forced to leave to their 
fate. 

In October 1941 all Greek owners of sets were ordered to register 
them at the nearest Italian police station. The B.B.C. immediately 
warned the Greeks to sabotage this order, even if it meant their 
sets would be confiscated. A few days later Radio Athens admitted 
the success of the warning by explaining that fears that the order 
meant confiscation were unfounded. It was merely a precaution 
" for military reasons "- 1 Shortly afterwards wholesale confiscations 
began to be carried out. 

Greece was well served by foreign broadcasts. Since the 
beginning of 1941 Germany had increased the power and number 
of transmitters throughout the Balkans, but the quality of the trans- 
missions tended to decline, probably because words could count for 
so little against the terrible facts for which she was responsible. 
But the broadcasts from Moscow, Cairo and London were all good 
in their different ways. The Russian announcer was said to have his 
heart quite obviously in his work, and the broadcasts were very much 
alive compared with those of the Axis ; their defect was that they 
seemed less interested in the plight of Greece than in emphasizing 

1 Radio Athens, October 19, 1941. 



THE FULLY OCCUPIED 211 

the virtues and invincibility of the Soviet Union. Cairo and London 
managed to come closer to the Greek tragedy. A Greek who escaped 
in the summer of 1942 reported enthusiastically that " everybody 
listens to the B.B.C." 

In Bulgaria the usual habits of European propagandists and 
listeners were reversed. The German Radio, which was hard to 
distinguish from the Bulgarian, invited the people to make a dear 
distinction between the Russian people and the Soviet rulers. 
The importance of this doctrine of the two Russias lay in the fact 
that it was the Russian people who had given their lives for the 
liberation of Bulgaria, while their self-imposed rulers merely wanted 
to make it an area for their revolutionary activities. In this topsy- 
turvy world Germany did not make her Western protests against a 
Britain tied to the Kremlin. A typical newspaper headline ran : 

CHURCHILL 
THE UNFAITHFUL FRIEND OF STALIN 

Listening to the home and German broadcasts became less and 
less popular, and of foreign stations Moscow had far the biggest 
audience. Many Bulgars even in rural areas listened to the Russian 
home news. But there were also first-hand reports of a faithful 
minority of " inveterate listeners to London who would be shot 
rather than give up." At the risk of five years imprisonment, they 
continued. They were the counterpart of Moscow's audiences in 
the West, 



III. RUSSIAN STEAMROLLER 

In postponing a general glance at the efforts of the Soviet 
scientist to inject oxygen into Hitler's bell-jars, we have done him an 
injustice. When he did come into the war he atoned for -nearly 
two years, of neutrality by being busier and more urgent than 
anyone else. The ordinary Englishman who knew little about the 
work of the B.B.C, read impressive broadcasts from Moscow in 
the newspapers and concluded that the Russians were the only 
people who knew anything about propaganda. Drive, originality 
and ruthless hard hitting were something for which a public tired 
of passivity had longed. 



112 



VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 



The differences between the voices have their origin for the 
most part in the contrasting backgrounds of the post-war years. 
While Britain had developed propaganda as a weapon for a moment, 
in 19189 and had then forgotten it until international pressure 
at the end of the 'thirties forced her to take it up again, the Soviet 
Union had been acutely propaganda-conscious ever since the 
October Revolution. The content varied a great deal ; the early 
denunciations of foreign capitalism gave way, with the spread of 
diplomatic recognition, to a demonstration of the benefits which 
Communism had brought to the Russian people. But the change 
did not bring any lessening in the importance which the Kremlin 
set on propaganda as a political instrument. 

In the late 'twenties the number of transmitters inside the Soviet 
Union increased tenfold in two years, while in the rest of Europe 
the number little more than doubled. For many years Moscow 
was the most powerful station in Europe. It may seem odd that 
there were only a quarter of a million receiving sets in the Union 

^ in 1927 when Britain had more than 

ten times as many, but the com- 
parison is unreal because the Russian 
sets served large numbers of people ; 
they were listened to in factories, 
army barracks, dub-rooms and other 
communal places. By the time of 
Hitler's invasion they had increased 
to well over four million. Controlled 
by the state through the All-Union 
Radio Committee, broadcasting in 
the U.S.S.R. was more exclusively a 
monopoly than in any other country. 
Geography was partly responsible for 
this it prevented effective foreign 
penetration but policy did not lag 
behind. After the German invasion 
all privately owned sets were con- 
fiscated. 

The stress which Lenin put on the propaganda value of news- 
papers had naturally been extended to the radio. Its propaganda 
was to a very large extent " cultural ". The amount of time 
given by the Third Reich to light music, and by the BJB.G and 




ANTI-SOVIET 

In the Russo-Finnish war distrust 
of the U.S.S.R. was strong in 
Scandjnavia. This Norwegian 
caricature was captioned : All 
ay we've killed another ten 
No one's going to believe 
you anyway. 



THE FULLY OCCUPIED 213 

America to various other concessions to popular demand, was 
rigorously absorbed by political, artistic and general material in 
the French sense " serious " and in the liberal sense propagandist 
The contents of the massive correspondence kept up between the 
Radio Committee and listeners is said to prove that the public 
quickly lost its taste for trash, and played an increasingly enthusiastic 
part in the choice of first-class programme material. 

To western ears broadcasts from Moscow had a very special 
sound which could only gradually be analyzed into its components. 
They were simple and serious ; they had an ascetic bareness of 
presentation which was perhaps caused superficially by the ban in 
all arts on " formalistic experiments " and the boom in " socialist 
realism ". But the bareness probably had deeper roots in the 
contrasting attitudes which Left and Right have regularly shown in 
questions of display. They took, finally, the state line and the state 
facts with mechanical precision. 

Since Ribbentrop and Molotov had signed the Russo-German 
non-aggression pact of 1939, propaganda from Moscow had been 
singularly mild in tone. While German newspapers carried articles 
in Russian and German alternately to celebrate the trade agreement 
of January, and the German Radio spoke of" the greatest economic 
pact ever concluded ", Moscow was markedly reserved. " Experience 
has shown,' 9 it said, " that there is enough mutual understanding and 
confidence in the relations between the Soviet Union and Germany 
to solve complicated financial and commercial problems.' 9 But 
neither then nor later did the Russian Radio think experience had 
shown more than that. 

Meanwhile a change was taking place in the reporting of world 
events. Recriminations against foreign imperialists dropped away* 
Reports of the exploitation of workers by Anglo-American capitalism 
were replaced increasingly by news of American co-operation with 
the British war effort. As a war reporter Moscow became as 
objective as any in the world. If she developed a bias during the 
allied disasters of 1940 and 1941, it was in her reluctance to believe 
that they were as bad as they seemed or that they implied defeat in 
the long run. 

In the summer of 1941 the German listener to Moscow must 
have been aware that some momentous change was coming. Until 
June 2 he had been honoured with only two transmissions a day j 
then they expanded abruptly to twelve. But what, he must have 



414 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

wondered, could it imply? " In central Russia," the loudspeaker 
was saying, " the fields look like green carpets ; in the south and 
south-east wheat is ripening. In Uzbekistan tens of thousands of 
hectares of wheat have already been harvested." Roumanians, he 
was told, could in future read the works of Lenin and Stalin in their 
mother-tongue ; in Moscow a big chess tournament was billed for 
August. 

Then, with the German invasion on June 22, the number of 
transmissions again jumped, this time to seventeen periods of about 
half an hour each. The innocent padding was swept away and the 
Russian war propaganda, ordered, fully armed and planned ahead, 
went straight into action. Famous by then for apparently major 
changes of policy, Moscow allowed not the least deviation to occur 
in this. Simple, unyielding and repetitive, it was a model of mass 
propaganda according to Hitler's definition. It subscribed at once 
and with less hesitation than the B.B.C. to the theory of the two 
Germanys : 

It is not you, the German people, but your Fascist leaders who 
are our enemy. And they are not only our enemy, they are^wwr enemy 
as well, they are the enemy of the world. Therefore unite on the 
home front, unite with the other peoples of Europe and with us to 
defeat die common enemy. 

Specially angled programmes were ready for the German forces, 
German youth, the Austrians and others. The emotions and 
sentimentality of German women were exploited with gusto. Frau 
Kramer" said the announcer after calling a widow to the loud* 
speaker to tell her of her husband's death, " was suchte Ihr Mann 
an der Beresina ? " What did your husband want on the Beresina ? 
You wanted a fur coat, and the Fascists who drove him there wanted 
other people's land ; but what he found was death. The same would 
happen with hundreds of thousands of other husbands until the 
Hitler regime was broken. Only then could there be peace. 

To workers the demands for sabotage were on a larger scale 
than Colonel Britton's and took less account of the consequences 
for those who carried them out : 

French workers, sabotage everything you can ! Wreck produc- 
tion ! Make unusable all aeroplane parts and other pieces of machinery 
for tanks and war weapons. Explode the munition depots and oil 
stores, detail trains and impede every means of transport ! 



THE FULLY OCCUPIED 115 

Two years of war did not soften these demands. Late in 1942 
Moscow told the Czechs : 

The old methods will not be good enough. Mass sabotage 
must now be supplemented by the determined and organized activity 
of fighting groups. We have no time for postponements. 

This was the language of a country stung to fury by invasion, but 
side by side with it went an insistence on cultural values. To the 
scientists and intellectuals of Germany, Russians and German 
exiles spoke as equals, stressing the decline of intellectual life in 
Germany and contrasting it to the level of science, research and 
learning in Russia. The time given to this theme was no doubt 
increased by Hitler's repeated descriptions of a land where men had 
been degraded into brute beasts ; it seemed most effective when one 
considered a particular talk or manifesto not in a vacuum, but in 
immediate relation to the war. When fifty thousand German tanks 
were converging on Moscow, a commentary on a scientific congress 
in the heart of the city still went on hour after hour with astonishing 
effect, as if the scientists and their deliberations were of the same 
immediate value as the defence system they had helped to organize. 
The most distinctive feature of Soviet propaganda was its 
combination of experience and enthusiasm. Experience sent its 
microphone in and out of prisoner-of-war camps as a matter of 
course. One could hear German privates shouting " Down with 
the war ! " to their former comrades on the other side of the line. 
Fraternization was carried out more effectively on the air than it 
had been in 1917 in the flesh. Enthusiasm, wholehearted devotion 
to the cause, produced some classic broadcasts, among them Ilya 
Ehrenburg's appeal to the Jews a month after the invasion began. 

When I was a boy I witnessed a Jewish pogrom. It had been 
organized by the Tsarist police and a handful of toughs. . . . But 
once they had conquered freedom, the Russian people forgot the per- 
secution of the Jews like a nightmare. There has now grown up a 
generation that does not know the meaning of the word pogrom. I 
have grown up in a Russian city, Moscow, and my native tongue is 
Russian. I am a Russian writer, and now, like all Russians, I am 
defending my Motherland. 

But die Hitlerites have reminded me of something else. My 
mother used to be called Hara, I am a Jew and I say this with pride, 
for Hitler's hatred honours us. I do not know what the German 
people think of their Fiihrer ; but I saw Berlin last summer. It is 



2i6 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

a bandits' den. I ha ve seen the German Army in Paris it is an army 
of brutes. With the Gennan people those who carry out pogroms are 
not despised, but they ate promoted Marshals and Academicians. 
The entire world is now waging war against Germany, not for terri- 
tories, but for their right to breathe. 

Is it possible to speak about what these cruel beasts do to the 
Jews? They kill the children under the eyes of the mothers. They 
force the old people to stake fools of themselves, they violate young 
girls, they torture, burn, and names such as Bialistok, Minsk, Ber- 
ditchev, will remain in history in letters of fire. . . . I am speaking 
as a Russian writer and as a Jew. There is no ocean behind which 
one can fed safe. Listen to the voice of the guns near Gomel, listen 
to the voice of the Russian and Jewish women who have been 
murdered at Berditchev ; you cannot shut your ears and dose your 
eyes, and your nights will be haunted by the pictures of Hitler's 
cruelties. Your still quiet dreams will be invaded by the voices of the 
Ukrainian Leah, of the Minsk Rachel and of the Bialistok Sarah, who 
weep for their murdered children. 

Jews, the beasts are aiming at us 1 Let, then, the end be a glorious 
one ! Our place is in the front ranks ! 

Underlying the broadcasts to Germany was an extraordinary, 
to my mind rather speculative, confidence in the listener's sympathy. 
" We see him before us, the German soldier," said one speaker in 
the winter campaign of 1941-1942. " His waistcoat is made of the 
Volkischer Beobachter, his trousers of the Angriff, and over his back- 
side he has a copy of Hitler's Mein Kampf to defend him from the 
kicks of the Red Army." This was not a broadcast to workers or 
peasants at home, but an appeal to the solidarity of German 
school-teachers. 

In home broadcasts there was a simple and passionate excite* 
meat which would have been almost inconceivable in other countries. 
" The collective of our factory has been awarded the Order of Lenin, 
the highest distinction in our country," said a worker. 

"When the work began everything went like dockwork. We had 
graphic timetables for every kind of work ; and they had to be kept 
in all circumstances. Every member of the collective lived and 
breathed with the life of the factory. We knew that the least loss of 
tjmg might mean loss of t* me at the Front." 

In foreign propaganda the price that had to be paid for enthusiasm 
was a sense of strong partisanship. Although this was not likdy 
to worry the devoted listener, it may have made new ones sceptical, 
and there were other disadvantages. When ardent appeals for 



THE FULLY OCCUPIED 217 

sabotage in all directions were put out on the first day of war, there 
remained litde to add beyond repetition. The justification hare was 
that Moscow was not concerned with drawing a delicate pattern 
which would end in a climax ; she was fighting a defensive jwar 
whose greatest dangers were at the beginning and demanded a 
maximum of resistance from the start. But this did not explain 
the fact that in general Moscow showed a more subjective ten- 
dency than New York and London. News and comment were kept 
rigidly distinct by the latter, and Moscow gave more time than they 
did to talks. In this sense Moscow was more " propagandist ". 

But there is something irrelevant in judging Russian war propa- 
ganda by Western standards of objectivity. Nor, by any test* 
could it be charged with lack of integrity. The core of Russia's 
policy was the definition of the war as a defence of the Soviet 
Fatherland against arbitrary aggression. Her appeal to other countries 
was also in national or even racial terms. She addressed Poles, 
Bulgars and Czechs as brother Slavs. 

Brains, strength, bravery and faithfulness to their friends these 
are all qualities common to all Slavs. By provoking the Slavs Hitler 
has signed his own and his allies' death warrant. My country fights not 
only for her own freedom, but also for the liberation of all Slav nations. 1 

To Hungarians and Frenchmen she spoke of the Germans 9 aggression 
in former generations and of the degradation of the present. But in 
doing so, she did not single out races as superior or inferior to one 
another. On the contrary, although Communist doctrine was never 
broadcast, certain vaguely defined but positive attitudes were 
implied. She was so little concerned with the advantages to be 
sneaked from addressing an audience with recognized prejudices 
that in broadcasts to France she regularly mentioned " die honest 
German people ". She was early on the scene with a forthright 
defence of the Jews and she proved her intentions to the German 
people by giving full personal honour to the refugees who spoke at 
the microphone. 

It has usually been assumed as an axiom of a desirable propaganda 
world that the Russian and Anglo-Saxon voices should have spoken 
as one. If this refers only to essential co-ordination it is obvious, 
but if it means that the details of tone and accent should have 
been reduced to a common denominator, the result would probably 
1 Lydia Sevevlina, July 23, 1941. 



2x8 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

have been to inhibit both sides into a stammer. There is no evidence 
that the general separation of audiences into Moscow listeners and 
Anglo-American listeners diminished their enthusiasm* A reason- 
able guess would be that it heightened it. 



IV. THE PREOCCUPIED 

Scattered uneasily on the outskirts of Europe were a few nations 
who had delayed or escaped, occupation by Hitler. In a military 
sense they were neutral ; as objects of attack by radio they were 
inside the European bell-jar near enough to the rim to be able 
to gulp as much oxygen as semi-asphyxiation allowed, and near 
enough to Hitler for tremors of dismay and attraction to run through 
them. Their state of nerves made them listen often but sceptically 
to a number of stations. 

For years in all these countries there had been a solid foundation 

of German propaganda. In the 
hotel lounges, on the bookstalls, 
in the newspapers and cinemas, 
it appeared quite innocently as a 
rather obvious statement of Ger- 
many's power. The power, it 
appeared, was both irresistible and 
civilized. Deriving from soldiers 
in field-grey, it ended in first-class 
tennis players, travel photographs 
and a universe as solid and anti- 
Bolshevist as the heart of a 
prosperous neutral could desire. 
drums {"--Halk-Hailo, April 1940 There was no smell of poison in 

the gas. 

Some of the duties of the Allied scientists are already plain. 
At first it was necessary to explain about this gas, that its sweetness 
was deceptive. As more and more stories came across the border 
by other means than radio about the reality of Germany's New 
Order, the warning became less important than an account of our- 
selves : that it was we, and not National Socialism, who would 
inevitably win, that it was we who had a serious concept of 




NEUTRAL REACTION 



THE LISTENERS 



EXPLANATION 
- I, 000.000 Radio Listeners, 



Radio listener* per thousand inhabitants 

of each country shown In figures 

(see Appendix II). 



= DENMARK 



X POLAND 

{'CZECHOSLOVAKIA 



^ BEL6IUM 



FRANCE 



, * 



I ii-o 
SPAIN 




The dcnrity of receiving sett at the beginning of 1941 thowt the advantage of Western Europe 
uver the Baat. where ther75rere alto fewer ahort-wmve . Bated an oflftci*! retunw, the jnap, may 
even show thia contrail too strikingly if a complaint by the Roumanian Radio that the number of iet- 
ownen wai more ^"" double that of the licence holders* wma true of other Balkan states. 



* . 

Deduced set. to a few thouwwda, but aimflar meoure. in 
Norway were not carried out until the end of 1941. The nmnber of ten in other countries tended ~ 



increaai 
and 104! 



nv . v .^. ^M..^.. UUU1 U1V UU M *y*. A ** uvuuww. vw vww r*'T TV ^ *J^ 

in roughly the tame proportion except in Italy where it was nearly doubled ben 

1042. meted* ar* in Atmendiv TT.^ 



I 1939 



330 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

civilization and plans for the future. To some it was also necessary 
to explain the good sense of Churchill's decision to form an 
alliance with the Soviet Union on the first day of Hitler's 
invasion. 

In Sweden there were enthusiastic devotees of the B.B.C. 
among fishermen and lonely farmers. The more educated were 
oftep more sceptical, and the ideal would have been to persuade 
everyone into the way of thinking of Dr. Segerstedt, who edited the 
Swedish equivalent of the Manchester Guardian in Gothenburg. The 
anglophile and benevolent Dr. Segerstedt was depressed from the 
start by a vision of vast German armies marching through Europe 
to an inescapable graveyard. His faith in England was absolute, 
and German propaganda seemed no more real to hi than the 
obscure individuals who were too well acquainted with his tele- 
phone conversations and followed him through the streets. 
As a contribution towards multiplying this ideal character the 
Swedish service of the B.B.C. gave regular surveys, naval, strategic, 
and political from the British point of view. For those who dis- 
missed this as merely a different brand of propaganda, there were 
talks of a quality that could not be heard on other stations, talks, 
moreover, that dispersed the German claim to be a bearer of culture. 
Nobel prize-winners in return for benefits received, reported on the 
progress of their work. Sir William Bragg, showed that in spite of 
the inevitable decline in pure research, work did go on. 

The new vision which the X-ray methods give us takes us far down 
into the study of the minute, where properties and purposes first begin 
to take shape. It is very curious that they have left behind a region 
which we find less easy to examine. It lies between the furthest reach 
of the microscope and the X-ray regions where we have found the 
going to be relatively easier. It is occupied by particles containing a 
few thousands of millions of atoms and by waves of similar dimensions. 
What happens in this region is of fundamental importance. 

Of all die quotations I have made, this would be the most difficult 
to have imagined on die German Radio. " What happens in this 
region is of fundamental importance/' was the view of Sir William 
Bragg ; but the scientists of Germany had long since evacuated 
such regions for the exploration of new lethal techniques. When 
Hitler boasted in the fourth year of war that the inventive genius 
of his scientists had not been asleep, it did not occur to him that 
anyone would mistake his 



THE FULLY OCCUPIED aax 

Einstein, who had become an American, allowed himself one of 
his excursions into higher political opinion. " I expect," he said, 
" that today everyone feels much the same as I do. 

" Technical developments are going to weld mankind into a single 
economic organism which needs special protective measures of a 
super-national character. Such protective measures are only possible 
if the sovereignty of the several states is correspondingly curtailed in 
favour of an authority executive as well as legislative standing 
above the states, which has the power to carry through its decisions*" 

He went on to argue that the present calamity could largely be 
ascribed to the failure of Woodrow Wilson's contemporaries to 
carry out his proposals. 

Both Sweden and Switzerland had some of the finest newspapers 
in the world. They were not subjected to any direct form of censor- 
ship, and listening bans on the foreign radio were not imposed. It was 
partly for this reason that a news service from any of the belligerents 
was looked on as a somewhat untrustworthy source by those who 
wanted a detached view. Anglophiles were a different matter j but 
the B.B.G's problem was to convert rather than to preach to the 
converted. It had to satisfy itself with the knowledge that a large 
proportion of its audience was listening out of curiosity and in 
the wrong language at that to overhear what we were saying in 
German, to discover what the mixture of the Gheg and Tosk dialects 
in which we spoke to Albania actually sounded like. They were 
enthusiastic critics. 

When we come to Spain and Portugal the atmosphere is suggested 
by the fact that jamming was as heavy as in the enemy countries. 
Some of it came from Italy, and the rest from nearer home. In 
1942 a decree was published in Madrid granting a credit of 17,000 
for equipment to counter what were called " the pernicious effects 
which the propaganda from certain foreign radio stations on the minds 
of those who, because of their lack of firm convictions, constitute 
fertile soil for the germination of ideas contrary to the good name* of 
Spain and her institutions". 1 One Spanish listener who had 
justifiable fears on riding this, wrote that an increase in jamming 
would be " lamentable " because the B.B.C was " the only means 
we have of obtaining true information ". The Spanish press was 
scarcely more inclined to give the Allies a hearing ; certain papers 
1 Boktin Official* May 20, 1942. 



222 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

published British communiques, but none gave the Russian. 
Although no listening ban was in force, pressure of varying weight 
was brought in different parts of the country on people who were 
known to listen. The result of so much repression was to reproduce 
the listening mentality of the occupied territories. A big majority 
of radio owners listened to the B.B.C. " They'll not succeed in 
making us think their way/' a Catalan engineer told a friend of mine. 
" People have been imprisoned for having B.B.C. bulletins found 
on them. In Puigcerda the police seized three radios because their 
owners had been listening to the B.B.C., but they won't get away 
with this even if they killed us by starvation, which they are already 
doing/' 

While this attitude may have been representative of Catalonia 
where year after year of martial law did nothing to damp the spirit 
of the people, there were other districts where dissuasion was so 
slight that not only were there no arrests, but sets tuned to London 
could be heard quite openly in cafes. In conversations about the 
news, the B.B.C. would usually be quoted, often with the exaggera- 
tion which fulfilled all kinds of wishes at the moment, but would 
later be attributed to London. But from Spain there often came the 
neutral's ideal compliment. " I know of several persons," wrote a 
Catalan, " whose entirely unfavourable views on an Allied victory 
have been changed as a result of B.B.C. broadcasts." His statement 
was backed by so much similar evidence that the B.B.C. cannot be 
denied the credit for producing in Spain one of the clearest shifts 
of public opinion which took place in Europe. 

In these broadcasts, unvarnished news was as important as 
in the services to the occupied territories. To counter the German 
argument that semi-starvation was due to our blockade, a constant 
stream of details was given on the withdrawal of foodstuffs by 
Germany and Italy. By the beginning of 1942 few people believed 
any longer th*t Britain was responsible. The programme La Voz 
de Landres became popular, particularly the commentator Antonio 
Torres, who spoke with a rare combination of strength and irony. 1 
Some of the music seemed to me a less impressive advertisement of 
England. Kettelby's In a Monastery Garden, for instance, made 
unsatisfying propaganda because of the difficulty of distinguishing 
the birds from the jammers. 

1 On a wall of the market-place in Tetuan someone even scrawled the words, 
"Churchill, Roosevelt and Antonio Torres will win the war for us ". 



THE FULLY OCCUPIED 223 

Portugal, one of the most prolific sources of letters, was another 
enthusiastic audience. Catholics contributed a considerable pro* 
portion of the talks, among them Hilaire Belloc, Douglas Woodruff 
and Father Zulueta. " It filled me with emotion," wrote one 
correspondent at the end of 1940, " when every night the whole 
population of this village, of every social grade, trooped into the only 
cafe in the place to listen to your bulletins, confident in Britain's 
victory. Afterwards they dispersed, discussing the events in their 
simple manner. ... As for the Qerman bulletins, no one listens 
to them they do not interest Us." Shortly afterwards the Portuguese 
authorities introduced a ban on listening to loudspeakers in public 
places. It operated unfairly against the B.B.C. whose listeners were 
scattered far more widely than the German among the poorer classes, 
who could not afford sets of their own. But in no country did tech- 
nical hitches of this kind prevent people who seriously wanted to 
listen. " You would be surprised," wrote another correspondent at 
the end of 1940, " to see how more or less illiterate people club 
together to get funds enough to buy a radio almost every little 
village consisting of no more than a handful of huts is now the 
possessor of a set." 

As the war went on, this audience was held. It is people who 
suspect attempts are being made to suffocate them, who develop an 
appetite for oxygen. 



COMMENTS, CRITICISMS, CONCLUSIONS 

" Dr. RUSSELL THOMAS (Southampton) : Broadcasts for the Italian peasants 
should invariably include Grand Opera. We should start our programmes with selections 
of Grand Opera and intersperse them with selections from them. As I have said t it is 
the one way above all others by which to rivet their attention. 

" Mr. J. J. DAVIDSON (Glasgow, Maiyhill) rose . . . 

" Dr. RUSSELL THOMAS : I am not going to give way. I have sat here a very long 
time, and I intend to go on." 

" Hansard ", Volume 377, No. 33- 

" The young airman up in the sty is driven not only by the voices of loudspeakers, 
he is driven by voices in himself ancient instincts fostered and cherished by education 
and tradition. Is he to be blamed for those instincts? Could we switch off the maternal 
instinct at the command of a table full of politicians ? " VIRGINIA WOOLF, " The 
Death of the Moth". 

" Propaganda is out of date." TOM HARRISSON. 

WE have done with the scientists ; we reach the politicians. Criticism 
of propaganda leaps so readily to the mind that many volumes of 
newsprint have already been devoted to the subject. At the time of 
writing, however, the shortage of paper puts me in the fortunate 
position of having to exclude all but essentials. I have called upon 
two critics who are acquainted with topical controversies, and an old 
lady who is not. One of the critics is on my left, the other on my 
right The old lady is directly opposite. Negative as she is, she 
figured in Mr. Ernest Hemingway's Death in the Afternoon and in 
Tristram Shandy 9 so that she feds rather out of place in these sur- 
roundings and can be relied on to say as little as usual. The critics 
are unlikely to say ifnuch, having promised to show intelligence, 
a readiness to compromise, and reckless disloyalty to any Party 
they fed in the background. The author is still employed by 
the B.B.C. and will think twice before he says anything. Over 
us all, promising early release, is the deus ex rnachina of the paper 
shortage. 

AUTHOR: Madam, it is for you to begin. 

OLD LADY : Well, it may seem simple of me, but I would like 
some information on this business about the two Germanys. Some 
people seem to think there are two Germanys and we're only at war 
with one of them. You say that's the Russian view. But some very 



COMMENTS, CRITICISMS, CONCLUSIONS 225 

well educated people I know say there isn't any difference between 
the Nazis and the Germans and we're fighting the whole lot Now 
I don't really see how you can start talking to the Germans until 
you've made your mind up one way or the other. 

LEFT CRITIC : If you make up your mind that the Germans are 
all Nazis I don't see any point in talking to them at all. 

RIGHT CRITIC : Perhaps there isn't a great deal. After all are 
there two Germanys I mean can you describe them to me ? For 
years we've been fighting ten million Germans who seemed a fair 
enough cross-section of the nation. They didn't cease to be Germans 
just because they were in uniform. And if there aren't any members 
of the " other Germany " in the forces, where are they ? In Rostock 
or Cologne ? There's no recognizable opposition whose programme 
we know about and approve. I suggest to you that if there's a 
Germany with whom we're not at war, it must be either some 
historical fantasy like Weimar in the eighteenth century or else an 
attitude of mind you assume to be latent. 

OLD LADY : Do you mean, sir, that every German is an in- 
corrigible Nazi ? 

AUTHOR : It makes me think of a broadcast which was repeated 
several times by the B.B.C. It was a sermon by a German bishop 
who delivered it in Miinster in 1941. He attacked the Nazis with 
the greatest courage and seemed to assume there were quite a lot of 
people in the congregation who would share his views. Then I 
remember hearing a broadcast on the German Radio by Hitler in 
which he said he would execute those who disagreed with him. He 
proceeded to execute fourteen people in Mannheim in one day. 

LEFT CRITIC : Surely the fact that there isn't an opposition 
whose programme we know and approve shouldn't worry the B.B.C 
very much. There are still safe assumptions you could make. 

RIGHT CRITIC .' For instance? 

LEFT CRITIC : Well, I should assume something like this. At 
the loudspeaker is a German with an average dose of the well-known 
Teutonic illness. Some years ago Hitler found him in a miserable 
out-of-work, humiliated condition and offered something more 
attractive than self-respect, something involving pageants and power 
and mastery over Europe. Being a German, he jumped at it. But 
what with the R.A.F. and the Eastern Front extending to the Mediter- 
ranean Front, his hopes gradually turned to fears. Far from moderat- 
ing this process Goebbels made it worse by assuring him that any 
15 



526 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

settlement that wasn't in Hitler's original pageant would mean die 
destruction of the German nation and the permanent enslavement 
of himself* Do you follow me. Madam ? 

OLD LADY : I don't quite gather which you are condemning, 
his hopes or his fears. 

LEFT CRITIC : I condemn both, because both are symptoms of 
the Teutonic disease we are fighting. They are, if you like, the two 
Germanys. 

RIGHT CRITIC : And you condemn both ? But this is a revolu- 
tion. 

, LEFT CRITIC : There is, I was about to remark, something in 
this cycle of vast hopes and catastrophic fears which is familiar to 
my listener. Did his forefathers experience it ? Did he absorb it in 
childhood with the Siegfried legend ? He knows it so well that 
victories lose their attraction because of the shadow of the inevitable 
defeat. And the defeat will seem so frightful that the only redemp- 
tion which can appeal to him is another victory pageant. The 
circle, you see, is a vicious one. t 

Now, I call these the two Germanys because I suspect that the 
picture of them as a simple political reality is a fiction based on this 
truth. In propaganda to Germany and in debates in the Commons 
for that matter, it's perfectly justifiable, but as we're among friends 
let's admit that there are not two Germanys in the ordinary external 
sense. In the early years of the war you wouldn't have expected to 
find so many million Nazis and so many million anti-Nazis at one 
anothers' throats. All eighty million were more or less Nazi. I say 
" more or less ", because even then some indubitably were less 
Nazi than others ; the fears and doubts had begun to get the upper 
hand in them. The B.B.C's job, as I see it, has been to heighten 
that tendency until it wins the day. 

AUTHOR : A dear enough argument. But just now you said it 
was precisely this phase of passive depression that caused the lust 
for conquest. 

RIGHT CRITIC : In fact the Germans won't all have been con- 
verted after all and a few bad boys will be waiting to lead the great 
mass of innocents into their neighbours' lands again ! Don't you 
think it would be better to adopt my suggestion and treat the Germans 
with realism? 

LEFT CRITIC: I am trying to do that. In my view the 
German wants tremendous victories because he feels he has been 



COMMENTS, CRITICISMS, CONCLUSIONS 227 

tremendously defeated. The implication of that is : don't let 
him feel tremendously defeated. 

AUTHOR : If there is one thing the B.B.C. has said, it is : You 
are going to be tremendously defeated. Do you quarrel with that ? 

RIGHT CRITIC : It's because people quarrelled with it last time 
that we are where we are today. 

LEFT CRITIC : On the contrary, I applaud it. Until their defeat 
is a reality, you must impress them with its approach. 

AUTHOR : And then ? 

LEFT CRITIC : Why, then your job is to break the vicious circle 
by removing the humiliation of defeat. Mind you, I said the humilia- 
tion. Occupy Berlin, if you like, and wipe out the Reichswehr, 
but don't send native troops into the Ruhr, don't create ten million 
unemployed and don't demand impossible reparations. If you do, 
you'll be creating a thirst for victories which won't be quenched a 
score of years later by appeasement. 

AUTHOR : Unfortunately the B.B.C. is not in a position to occupy 
Berlin or demand impossible reparations. I must rule out your 
suggestion as irrelevant. 

RIGHT CRITIC : It is not only irrelevant, but dangerous. In 
the first place I doubt the whole theory that German rapacity is 
founded on a feeling of humiliation. But if it is, I should have 
thought the occupation of Berlin and destruction of the Reichswehr 
which you propose would be enough to make them want the earth 
next time. And since there seem to be two such grave flaws in 
your argument it would surely be safer this time to plump for 
the facts. 

OLD LADY : What are the facts ? 

RIGHT CRITIC : Madam, you are well acquainted with them. 
For nearly a century Germany has been a singularly dogged 
enemy of ours. What she wants is the mastery of Europe, and she 
still proposes to get it when she's nearly dead. Very well, after this 
war she will need the appropriate treatment. But in the meantime 
I want to know if the B.B.C. is being tough enough. Certain things 
you have said gave me a feeling of uneasiness. I didn't much like 
the pride with which you took Mr. H. G. Priestley to the micro- 
phone. And then without wishing to insult your admirable qualities 
as a writer, I suggest far the most impressive part of your book was 
nothing to do with the B.B.C., but die account of Germany's 
campaign against France. 



228 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

AUTHOR : The most impressive in what sense ? As an example 
of a service which had acquired the confidence and affection of a 
growing number of listeners ? 

OLD LADY ; But haven't we been at war for three years ? In 
that time couldn't the B.B.C have done something I mean some- 
thing like the German victories in what you called Political Warfare. 

AUTHOR : It did do something. Colonel Britton sent a lot of 
nickel and copper into hiding, and the services to the Occupied 
Territories raised morale and fortified resistance to the Germans. 
But at the moment the B.B.C. can't hang BERLIN on its walls, 
if that's what you mean not as Ferdonnet might have hung the 
word PARIS on his microphone at Stuttgart. 

OLD LADY : And yet you claim that the B.B.C. has done its 
job well ? 

AUTHOR : Allowing for the ups and downs of different regions 
and for human fallibility yes. There's nothing strange about that. 
You have seen the B.B.C. engaged in propaganda in a more or less 
ordinary sense ; it was confined to that by the military situation. If 
it had attempted political warfare in the German sense, but using 
the microphone as an independent striking force without relation 
to the other arms, it would have spoiled its efficacy in the final 
stages by breeding distrust. Suppose it had attempted to bring about 
the evacuation of Berlin by spreading rumours that the reservoirs 
were poisoned and a force of 5000 bombers was approaching. 
Possibly it would have succeeded, but what would have been the 
result? 

OLD LADY : Well, of course, everyone would have got very tired 
of evacuation and gone back to Berlin. But couldn't there have been 
more likely ideas ? 

LEFT CRITIC : Only, I think, if they had been more ambitious, 
and the damage done to B.B.C. credit would have been proportionate. 
Suppose in 1941 the B.B.C. had backed the Generals to carry out 
a revolutionary coup against the Nazis. I leave out questions of 
political desirability and the fact that we should have forfeited all 
chance of sympathy from the Left" our only hope " as Lord 
Vansittart has called it. By committing ourselves openly to a faction 
before we were in measurable sight of victory we should have under- 
mined what trust was put in the integrity of our war aims. I think 
any other attempt to employ the tactics of major political warfare 
before the armed forces had brought us to the edge of victory would 



COMMENTS, CRITICISMS, CONCLUSIONS 229 

have had similar consequences. At zero hour, of course, the scene 
changes. But then all the preliminary years of patience bring their 
return. * 

AUTHOR : Let me extend your defence to cover this book. It 
records a period when for the most part Britain was on the defensive 
and Germany held th$ initiative. You have seen the two basic stances 
of political warriors : on guard and in assault. But now they 
have been exchanged, you would not expect to find Britain, the 
United States and the Soviet Union lunging in quite the same 
style as Germany lunged. A distinction of characters is involved, 
and I hope a distinction in lasting achievement. 

RIGHT CRITIC : But you do not dispose of the whole criticism. 
When Russia was as hard pressed as we ever were, she was, on your 
own admission, tough. In effect she demanded revolution. 

AUTHOR: Wouldn't you call Churchill tough? The B.B.C 
broadcast his speeches ad nauseam and the European Service caught 
his spirit. Russia had certain advantages over the B.B.C. She had 
no variety of opinions to contend with, no clash of ideas on the 
subject of post-war Germany, and a small but important point 
she was a Land Power. 

RIGHT CRITIC : And the relevance of that ? 

AUTHOR : Armies make better material for propaganda than 
navies. You can see the sort of reason. If a reporter had to choose 
between a complicated set of patrol duties at sea and a battle on land 
to get his story on the front page, I don't think he'd hesitate. I say 
it's more important than it seems, because I think it made Britain 
seem a lot more passive than she was. The B.B.C. did what it could 
to project the fall force of our war effort, but it could have done 
more if we'd been a Land Power. 

OLD LADY : Just now you said something about the ups and downs 
of different regions. It interested me because it confirms a strong 
suspicion I've had when listening to the B.B.C. in languages I don't 
understand that the wrong things were being said, and being said in 
very bad language. 

AUTHOR : Madam, I have had precisely that feeling, but perhaps 
it is a subject for psychologists. On investigating the scripts I 
disliked and failed to understand, I found my objections vanish- 
ing. It is strange. I remember the Parliamentary Secretary 
to the Ministry of Information saying on one occasion that the 
B.B.C did not claim fluency in all its forty languages. But that is a 



230 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

different matter. You would not expect the Albanian Service to 
reach the standard of" Hi Gang". Of course it may do, but I have 
not listened regularly enough to know. 

LEFT CRITIC : You have said that Hitler has ail the transmitters 
in the centre of Europe, but why doesn't the B.B.C. build powerful 
medium-wave transmitters on Gibraltar and Malta and Cyprus? 
Surely they are as important as any other kind of armament at 
strategic points. 

AUTHOR: Probably it would like to, but the B.B.C. is not 
responsible for putting up transmitters outside the country. 

LJBFT CRITIC : I should like to know how much the B.B.C. has 
done to sustain the national cultures which the German Radio 
tried to destroy. It seems to have been on a much higher level than 
the German Radio, but it struck me, I think when you referred to 
the war in Hungarian, that Moscow was more lavish with cultural 
broadcasts than we were. 

AUTHOR : Moscow in Hungarian had more transmitting time, 
and transmitting time is the answer to the question, because what 
you broadcast can't be considered without watching the studio dock. 
If you only have two or three periods of a few minutes each, I imagine 
you would choose to sustain your listeners with the news they 
don't hear, particularly if it is good news. But as your time 
increases, your semi-luxuries can increase more than proportionately. 

LEFT CRITIC : I am not speaking of semi-luxuries, but of neces- 
sities for winning the peace. 

AUTHOR : I am glad to hear it. Perhaps I may forward to you 
the kicks from those who think culture has nothing to do with 
winning the war ? ' 

RIGHT CRITIC : Allow me to communicate with him direct. I 
doubt the advisability of the long broadcasts we already have. 
How many Germans, how many Frenchmen, for that matter, are 
9011% to listen for four or five hours a day ? 

LEFT CRITIC: Obviously very few. How many Englishmen 
listen for five hours daily ? But that doesn't mean we should cut the 
Home Service to three or four hours. No, Sir. Since different people 
listen at different times, I consider it a matter of urgent national 
importance that the foreign language broadcasts should be extended 
till they become twelve or twenty-four hour services. 

AUTHOR : Something like it has happened already on big occa- 
sions. When the Japs attacked Pearl Harbour, and when the Allies 



COMMENTS, CRITICISMS, CONCLUSIONS 231 

launched their North African offensive, the B.B.C. kept broad- 
casting the news in German, French and Italian from one till five 
in the morning. 

RIGHT CRITIC : I don't know that I feel very strongly about this, 
but I do suggest you might find yourself in something of a tangle 
with a dozen different services on that scale. As it is I have some- 
times wondered what the Czechs have thought of your more friendly 
references to Germany. I mean, for instance, your assurances that 
post-war Germany should be granted freedom from economic 
instability. 

LEFT CRITIC : Well, they're in the Atlantic Charter. If you 
and the Czechs resent that, then let me say that I have been alarmed 
by the effect on Germany of some of the vengeance speeches made by 
the exiled statesmen of die occupied territories. 

OLD LADY : But why doesn't everyone say the same thing as they 
do in Russia ? 

AUTHOR : Madam, we live in a democracy and our guests were 
the heads of democratic states. As a matter of fact my friend on the 
left exaggerates this talk of vengeance. But there is just one thing I 
would like to say on the subject of co-ordination whether with Russia 
or any other ally it is that the whole thing would become vastly 
simplified if you two gentlemen could reach some sort of solid 
agreement. There is a paper shortage, and my hopes are not 
exaggerated, but I would like you to say what you do really want 

RIGHT CRITIC: Well, I should start by pointing out to the 
author the importance that the majority of mankind attaches to 
strength. If you like, brute strength. In your chapter on origins 
you seemed to overlook the possibility that Britain's weakness was 
the most important cause of the war. It was also the main reason 
why our voice was uncertain and unheard. Curious that you over- 
looked it, because later on, when Hitler lost his magic, and in the 
campaign against France, it seemed to dawn on you; phrases 
like " the interdependence of propaganda and military power " 
ran from your pen. Now, if I'd been writing your first chapter, 
I would have said something like this: "After the victory pf 
1918 the democratic idea became popular and highly esteemed. 
There was no mystery about it; the democracies had just wqm 
a gigantic victory and their strength was unchallenged. But 
England as a whole was not hard-headed enough to realize this 
was the reason she preferred to believe in good will and indefinite 



232 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

progress, And she let her superiority decay. For a while all went 
well. There was the voice of Hitler, but that was not very noticeable 
as long as we had the strength to silence it. But it grew louder as 
ours grew weaker. It enticed whole peoples and countries away from 
our idea. It was a magical voice, if you like, but the magic did not 
lie in Hitler's personality. It was in the tanks and Junkers and 
Heinkels coming from the Ruhr factories. It dominated Europe 
at the time his arms were ready to do the same.' 9 

What I want, therefore, is a strong England. As a matter of 
fact I wouldn't be surprised if our propagandists don't regain 
their reputation for genius when the tanks and bombers are on 
our side. This time let's keep that reputation. 

LEFT CRITIC : But you don't explain what the B.B.C. is to say. 
Is it to be just a gorilla beating on its chest ? 

OLD LADY : I should think not ! That makes everything in the 
neighbourhood run for its life. 

LEFT CRITIC : But I call that success of a kind. Hitler and Fer- 
donnet and all the rest sent people off at the run. But what then ? 
Are they to go on running ? The primitive political warriors don't 
seem to have had any other plan. They didn't exactly win the trust 
of the French or the Serbs ; they just tried to paralyse them into 
permanent submission. No, sir, gorillas are horribly out-of-date. 
I want something better than fear to impress your audience or it 
will disperse. I want us to have something to talk about. Fear was 
the German weapon, but hope should be ours. 

OLD LADY : There's the Atlantic Charter, isn't that any good ? 

LEFT CRITIC : Madam, it's not good enough. If we had a more 
detailed edition of the Atlantic Charter with a promise of family 
allowances and paid holidays for all, I still would not be satisfied. 
Because if the voice of Britain is going to be listened to, it must have 
some sort of message for the modern world. Consider the chance 
we have. Here is a civilization which has suffered agonies from its 
failure to adjust individual rights and liberties to the common good. 
A century ago you had no bombers with which to shatter your 
neighbour's capital and you hadn't the means to give health, leisure 
and education to all. But today those destructive and creative forces 
are at your fingers' end, and I want to know if we're going to use 
them* You see, I think we could use them quite extraordinarily well, 
because in spite of our passion for individualism we have some of 
the things that are needed an ability to compromise and a tolerance 



COMMENTS, CRITICISMS, CONCLUSIONS 233 

which other nations haven't got. In other words I think we canmaster 
the problems of this century without revolution, and if we can do 
ti^at, we shall have something to say that will make Goebbels' theory 
of political warfare look like a Voodoo dancer's death-mask. Madam, 
the future would be ours. 

OLD LADY : And if we don't do it ? Because, frankly, I never 
like to overdo anything. 

LEFT CRITIC : Why then no doubt the future will be someone 
else's. It is for us to choose. 

RIGHT CRITIC: I hate to intervene . . . but I would like to 
remind you of the civilization of Ancient Crete. You remember 
that for many centuries the island of Crete had a culture which was 
spectacular ? I don't mean just the central-heating and light-wells 
in the palaces, but the ordinary vessels to be found in the houses, even 
the tools, they were all designed in excellent taste. Life there was 
manicured. But it seemed so absorbing to the Cretan that he forgot 
about the navy from which it had sprung. Now you, sir, seem to 
hope that a wireless station would have done instead. 

LEFT CRITIC : Not instead, no, but a means of spreading what 
Crete had to offer to the Mediterranean. 

RIGHT CRITIC : But you are wrong, I'm afraid. Only their ancient 
navy could have done that, for after they'd concentrated on their 
civilization for long enough marauders fell on them from the north. 
They burnt the palaces. They wrecked the central-heating and the 
light-wells, and they went away. If there'd been a wireless station, 
they wouldn't have left it to broadcast a postscript. 

AUTHOR : You are not advancing the argument, sir. You have 
already said that force is the secret of propaganda. 

LEFT CRITIC : But for my part I deny that it's anything of the 
sort. Was force responsible for the spread of Christianity ? If so, 
whose force ? Was it brute strength that gave Karl Marx's early 
disciples their power as propagandists ? Surely this is the purest 
nonsense. The spread of an idea depends on the strength within that 
idea itself. 

OLD LADY : You know I have a terrible habit when I'm reading 
a book oT turning over the page, and I can't get rid of it even when 
I'm in the book myself. I must therefore warn you gentlemen 
that in another couple of pages you won't exist any more. I shall 
be alone with the author. 

AUTHOR : One 'thing that might hasten that event would be an 
. 15* 



334 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

attempt to agree with each other's major thesis. You, Sir, on my left, 
I can't believe you have any fundamental objection to the argument 
of my friend on the right, that after this war British strength must 
be retained? 

LEFT CRITIC : I'm afraid I have, if you put it as crudely as that. 
In theory, you see, I'm opposed to anyone being in control of forces 
which can smack .down another people at will. The trouble in prac- 
tice is that we seem to wait ten years before smacking down anyone. 
Therefore I'll grant you your military strength if you'll promise to 
use it at the request of the international organization of which it's 
apart. 

AUTHOR : And you, Sir, on my right, are you opposed to the 
desirable world which my friend painted just now ? I'm bound to 
say it struck me as rather more desirable than your . . . er . . . 
historical fantasy of Crete. 

RIGHT CRITIC : I'm not opposed to it exactly, no. I fancy it 
would be more expensive than you think. And there are things 
about it which strike me as rather Utopian and impracticable. I'd 
rather add some safer bets from the past the family, for instance, 
and the Church of England. 

AUTHOR : I cannot conceive that you, Sir, would object to these 
institutions even if you personally happen to have no pride in them ? 
Admissions are more fashionable than they were in the 'twenties. 
In the Daily Mail Year Book for 1942 1 noticed an article by Professor 
Rally entitled " A Planned Britain ". In the Observer I discover it 
is " vital " that " no private interests should be allowed to obstruct 
the replanning and rebuilding of cities ". 

LEFT CRITIC : Well, I can imagine more thrilling subjects for 
propaganda than families and church bells, but I don't object to 
them no, of course not. 

AUTHOR : Good because that finishes your outline of a plan. 
To suit one of you we state the momentous strength of the United 
Nations, and to satisfy the other we explain how we shall organize 
this power in the post-war world for the well-being of its inhabitants. 
In response to demands from the Left we dean up our own house so 
magnificently that it becomes the envy of its neighbours, but from 
natural instincts and by request of the Right, we leave undisturbed 
certain time-honoured furniture which has proved its value. 

OLD LADY: It's really extremely gratifying. At last I've got into 
a book with a happy coding. 



COMMENTS, CRITICISMS, CONCLUSIONS 155 

AUTHOR: There is only one reservation ... 

OLD LADY : No ! You're going to spoil everything. . . . And 
it's too late because the critics have disappeared. 

AUTHOR : I don't know what you make of their disappearance, 
Madam, but it seems to me a little sinister. Perhaps they began to 
feel unreal and just evaporated. For we must face it that there's a 
possibility of their not agreeing. I don't mean on detail, because 
obviously they'll never agree on that, but on fundamentals, on the 
sort of place England is going to be. My reservation was only going 
to be that. They must agree and they must mean what they say. 
Mind you, I know the future is going to be a muddle, and the people 
who think it can be dear-cut and simple will be disappointed. But 
there are different kinds of muddle intolerable ones that prevent 
people from enjoying life, sensible ones caused by development and 
changing interests, and there are bloody muddles. Now if the critics 
disagree fundamentally on the kind of muddle they want, I think 
we are at one of those moments in history where the muddle they 
will get is a bloody muddle. It concerns us here because the 
barricades in the streets will have their counterparts at the micro- 
phone. For a time your favourite speakers will be suppressed 
and when they are freely chosen again half of them will be dead. 
Do you want to hear more Fascist voices, Madam? Please be 
careful, because I have heard more than enough, and we might 
find ourselves on opposite sides of a barricade. 

OLD LADY: But this seems very extreme. These gentlemen were 
perfectly civil, and I'm sure a clever propagandist could smooth 
over their differences. I haven't liked to mention it before, but I 
thought propaganda was just the thing for ... er ... supple 
tongues. 

AUTHOR : I'm afraid you are thinking of Dr. Jdsef Goebbds, 
Madam. His tongue was certainly supple. At times his tones were 
so well modulated and so lyrical that you had to remind yourself 
of his motives. For most people in Europe it became a habit. 
But since you have brought the matter up, let us make an un- 
natural effort to recall some of his statements as if he had meant 
them. It is worth our while. On the first day he took over the 
Dutch Radio, you remember, he described the reorganization of the 
economic system. "The tremendous agricultural and industrial 
resources," he said, " will at last be revealed at their true value. * 
The number of ships built under the old system, the number vf 



936 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

cattle kept, die number of eggs produced, the quantity of fruit and 
vegetables, can all be doubled at short notice by proper economic 
methods . . ." Forgive me for quoting that twice, but it shows 
Gocbbels at one of those moments when one realizes how dangerous 
he might have been. For imagine if he had meant what he said 
What weapon could have been used against him? Suppose the 
German Radio with its outposts all over Europe had been correct in 
describing itself as a bearer of culture, had offered the best of German 
art instead of the flashiest and the worst Imagine that Germany 
had in fact been the happy social state he described and that the 
peoples around her had been offered a similar life deriving from their 
own national roots in a confederation of equal peoples. Then, I 
fancy, Goebbels would have won. 

Happily he made a mistake. He thought propaganda had 
something to do with cynicism. He became a spiritual inflationist 
who issued promises like banknotes in the knowledge that they had 
no backing. 

OLD LADY : But that isn't the kind of mistake the B.B.C. would 
make. 

AUTHOR : Madam, the B.B.C does not make mistakes. It is 
one of its virtues. I want it to make promises and I want you to 
keep them. 

OLD LADY : But there seems to be some misunderstanding. I 
don't want to make promises or to keep them. I'm against all that 
sort of thing. I just want a quiet life. 

AUTHOR: A quiet life? 

OLD LADY : Now what have I said ? You don't look well, all 
of a sudden. 

AUTHOR : You gave me a shock, Madam. To my ears the words 
have a lyrical sound like the trickle of water in a desert ; and yet 
you make me wonder how we are going to get it. There's the radio, 
and it can't be turned off. There are the voices not just these I've 
been describing, but the ones about to speak. Are they, the new 
ones, going to make threats and broken promises like die archaic 
gorillas we have heard ? They'll be ready to, believe me. Even at 
this moment, perhaps even in the hospital at Pasewalk, someone 
may have had a revelation. The wound in the heart of Europe, it 
may have dawned on him, can be cured only by a counterpart of 
Parsifal's sacred spear which could both heal and slay ; and in the 
hands of modern knights of Parsifal this miracle could be achieved. 



COMMENTS, CRITICISMS, CONCLUSIONS 237 

You .find such a voice improbable? But remember voices aren't 
independent arbitrary things that make themselves heard because 
of a special genius in the speaker. They weren't in the 'thirties and 
they won't be in the 'fifties. They speak because an audience wants 
to hear them; in the long run they are chosen by the listener. Indeed, 
if you detect a note of urgency in my pleading, Madam, it is because 
I am conscious of your importance. I can only give you ideas ; it 
is you who must give the answer. 

OLD LADY : But you've become most gratifying again, young 
man. Please tell me your ideas. 

AUTHOR : Even they are unoriginal : I picked them up from 
what these critics have been saying. All I want to add is a suggestion 
that you may be feeling tired of voices like Hitler's that go bump in 
the night, that you may be feeling a little regretful that you allowed 
a noise like that to become the loudest in Europe. It's difficult to 
remember exactly how it happened, but I think it was because you 
weren't interested enough in what was going on around you. You 
know how it is when a day goes wrong and you can't concentrate on 
anything ; you*get* bored and over-anxious and when you're in bed 
voices start shouting at you from your dreams. Of course as domestic 
events go it may be quite a big thing that goes wrong the arrival of 
a brand new electric vacuum cleaner, for instance, which you just 
don't know how to cope with and try in despair to use like an old- 
fashioned mop. At last when you're in bed it rises out of the dark- 
ness with a scowling face and a magician's hood and starts to eject 
exaggerated insults about your private life. It's most unpleasant. 
But I expect you've noticed that never happens after a good day's 
work. Then all the energy flows into your neatly moving fingers 
and the arrangements you make for extending your vegetable beds. 
Something, on these occasions, seems to get transferred from your- 
self to the outside world and comes back to you in brighter colours 
and a greater attractiveness in the people you meet. It's exhilarating. 

The question is how to make days like this come more often and 
more permanently. You may say they went smoothly enough 
before the vacuum-cleaner arrived and you feel inclined to join a 
society for the removal of vacuum cleaners. But it would be a pity, 
surely ; a neighbour might master the thing first. A better idea 
would be to have a plan of campaign. I'm not one of nature's 
planners, but with a complicated thing like a vacuum cleaner, I 
don't see what else is to be done. Ruthlessly and clear-headedly 



238 VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 

we must trait it as its nature demands. The plug here in the wains- 
anting, |be flex across the floor behind us and it's not to be used 
as a skipping-rope for the children -the switch on by the wall, the 
other one on the handle, now, with the furniture properly arranged, 
we're off. 

It's extraordinary how much better one feds, don't you notice ? 
Do you remember Browning ? 

OLD LADY: Do I remember Browning,, Sir? I am losing 
patience. You were suggesting some new speakers. 

AUTHOR : I was getting back to that, Madam, but it was for your 
sake that I digressed into the quiet life. Let us simply define it as 
one which is properly occupied. Then, on the day when you were 
fully occupied with your vacuum cleaner, what would you like to 
hear ? I think, you know, honestly the question would seem less 
important than it did the night before. You remember how Hitler 
when he founded his movement insisted on speaking after dark ? 
He knew the deadly myths he had to tell would not be listened to 
outside a nightmare. But now. that you're really interested in the 
day's work again, why I should think you'd like to hear voices that 
matched the daylight, real, direct voices that were quiet and meant 
business like yourself. Only stick to the job, Madam, keep interested 
m reality, or they will start shouting and move back again into 
the night. 



APPENDIX I 



CHARGES AND COUNTER-CHARGES IN GERMAN ON THE EVE OF 
AMERICA'S ENTRY INTO THE WAR 



B3.C. 

R.A.F. offensive means that Ger- 
many is already engaged on two 
fronts. 

R.A.F. offensive is already heavy, 
but will grow enormously. 



America is already a dangerous 
opponent of Germany. 



Social progress in Britain continues 
even during the war. 

Europe detests her subjugation under 
the Third Reich and awaits the first 
moment to rise against it. 

A comparison of September 1940 
with September 1941 shows how the 
German situation has deteriorated. 



German A.R.P. is inadequate. 

The immorality of Nazi propaganda 

aimed at increasing the number of 

illegitimate children. 

The Nazis are killing off the aged, 

incurables and the insane. 

British war aims are stated in the 

Atlantic Charter. 



German Radio 
A lie. There is no Western Front. 



R.A.F. raids are trivial. German 
defences are effective, and the Luft- 
waffe will scon turn the tables on 
England. 

America is a base and despicable 
enemy of Germany, but cannot be 
dangerous in time to forestall her 
plans. 

Britain is a plutocracy whose 
social developments are far behind 
Germany's. 

Europe has been united by die Third 
Reich into a fortress which will foil 
all outside attempts to besiege or 
disrupt it. 

A comparison of September 1959 
with September 1941 shows how the 
English situation has deteriorated. 
In that time England has lost twelve 
allies to Germany. 

German A.R.P. is incomparable. 
Casualties are due to sky-gazing. 

The English are hypocrites. 



No response. 

Britain has only one war aim : the 
destruction of Germany. The At- 
lantic Charter is a list of calculated 
deceptions like Wilson's Fourteen 
Points. It foreshadows an attempt 
to impose a super-Versailles. 



APPENDIX II 



EUROPE'S LISTENERS 

AlsuRVEY of the number and distribution of listeners was given in the 
German paper Wirtschctft und Statistik in August 1941. (The map on p. 1 86 
is based on it.) No allowance is made of course for unregistered listeners, 
but in most countries the existence of listening bans could have little effect 
on registration, which had been carried out beforehand. Poland is excluded 
on the legal ground that no one of Polish nationality might own a set. The 
figures in brackets refer jto 1940, the others to 1941, 



Radio Listeners 
in Thousands 

. 1,470-4 
863-4 



Sweden ...... 

Denmark. . 

Great Britain ..... 

Greater Germany (including Austria and 

Sudeten district) .... 14,880-0 

Netherlands ..... 1,440-6 

Switzerland ..... 637-6 

Iceland ...... 183 

Norway ...... 429-4 

Belgium (1,148-7; 

France (excluding Alsace Lorraine) . . 5,133-0 

Finland ...... 348-5 

fiire ...... 179-6 

Hungary (New area) .... 609-9 

Slovakia 83-0 

Italy ...... 1,400-0 

Roumania (New area) .... 244*3 

Portugal ...... 98-0 

Bulgaria ...... 83*0 

Spain ...... 281-4 

Turkey . . . . . . 91*2 



Radio Listener* 

per Thousand 

Inhabitants 

230-8 
224*6 
(190-3) 

184-7 

160*8 

150-8 

149*7 

145*2 

(136-8) 

128-1 

89-1 

60-3 

44-7 

313 

31-2 

18-3 
12-8 ' 
12*4 

II-O 



340 



INDEX 



Albania, 186, 221 
Algiers, Radio, 154 
America, see wider U.S. A. 
Amery, L. S., 209 
Anderson de Cienfuegoa, Jane, 92-3 
Ankara, 155 
Ansaldo, G., 194 
Appelius, Mario, 194 
Audiences see " Radio Criminals " and 
" Listeners' Reports " 

Baker, Noel, 98 

Baldwin, Stanley, 14-15 

Barbe, Charles, 195 

Barlone, Capt. D., 137, 139 

Bartlett, Vernon, 75 

Bate, Fred, 134 

B.B.C., early days, 20 ; foundation of 
European Service, 21-2 ; European 
executives, 97; Intelligence, 99, 
183-5 > Monitoring, 146, 180-2 ; 
Station Beta, 37, 47, 71-2, 1855 
Station Delta, 37, 47; Station 
Gamma, 47 ; wavelengths, 38. 
Broadcasts to foreign countries see 
first reference under heading of each 
country concerned ; London Catting 
Europe* 188-9. Announcers, 39-46 ; 
in Arabic, 172; Serbo-Croat, 210; 
studio managers, 41 ; switch censors, 
38, 48, 99; 'V campaign, 81-2, 
189-93 

Belgium : B.B.C., broadcasts and Radio 
Belgique, 205-6 ; German campaign, 
x 12-18 

Belloc, Hilaire, 223 

Benes, President, 192, 206-7 

Bernanos, G., 166 

Blokzil, Max, 202 

Borcl, J., 168 

Bourdan, Pierre, 158 

Bragg, Sir William, 220 

Britton, Col., 189-93, 214 

Brooks, Brig. R. A. D., 99 

Bruce-Lockhart, Sir Robert (Director- 
General P.W.E.), 98 

Bulgaria, 71, 211 

Cairo, Radio, 196, 210, 2x1 
Candidus, 198 
Chakotin, Scree, 64, 104 
Chamberlain, Neville, 21-2 
Churchill, Winston, 8, 15, 23, 32, 97* 
152^188-9, 192, 220, 229 



Cincinatti, Radio, 194-5 
Cooper, Douglas, 135, 139 
Cripps, Sir Stafford, 192 
Grossman, R. H. S., 87-8 
Czechoslovakia : B.B.C. broadcasts, 
206-7; 97-8,202 

> Mot/, 12-15, 17* 23-4 
' Mail Year Book* 13, 234 



* (19x8), 8-9, xx 
r. Hu 



Dalfon, Dr. Hugh, 98 

Darlan, Admiral, 139, 154, 159, 

162-3 

Deat, Marcel, 144, 148, 160, 163 
de Brinon, 163 

de Gaulle, Gen., 142, 150-5, 164 
Delmer, Sefton, 87 
Denmark : B.B.C. broadcasts, 204-5 ; 

xoi 

D'Estienne d'Orves, Comm., 159 
Dietrich, Otto, 63 
Dieudonnc, Charles, 144 
Doriot, 163 
d'Ormesson, V., 144 
Drahtlose Dienst, 94 
Duchesne,, Jacques (French Programme 

Organizer), 38, 41, 156-8 

Eckersley, P. P., 86 
Eckert, Dr. Gerhard, 28, 35-6, 67 
Ehrenburg, Ilya, 182, 2x5-6 
Einstein, Prof., 18, 221 
English broadcasts to Europe, 187-93 
English, Henry, 87 

European Service, B.B.C. : foundation, 
21-2 ; Intelligence Service, 183 

Ferdonnet, 80, 104-7, 143, 145 

Fifth Column, 121, 126; see also 

Freedom Stations 

France : B.B.C. broadcasts, 107, in- 
141 passim ; Id la France* 142 ; Let 
Francois parlent aux Fran$ais> 142, 
145, 154, 157, 1635 Honnewr at 
Patrie, 153 ; Les Trots Amis, 158 ; 
Air Post, 166-170. Letters to B.B.C., 
140, I42H5, 149-154. 164-5. Broad- 
casts to foreign^ggijsgicaj Austria, 
116, 119, 
passim i 
Radio,. 




242 



VOICES IN THE DARKNESS 



Freedom Stations: Christian Peace 
Movement ,25, 93; LaVoixdelaPaix 
and Reveil de la France, 121, 130*8 
passim 

Freud, Sigmund, 10 fa. 

Fricdrich, Dr. (Radio Paris), 146 

Fritzsche^Hans, 33> 5** fo> *7 

Frossard, 106, 138 

Gabor, Andre", 209 

Gamlin, Lionel, opp. 192 

Gerhardi, William, opp. 209 

Germany: B.B.C. Studio 5, 37~47> 
50-1, 68-89 ; Workers' Programme, 
68-70, 84; Civil Servants', 70-5, 87; 
Women's, 76-81 (frau Wermcke, 77, 
88) ; Aus der Freien Welt, 79, 86 ; 
Forces, 79-82, 85 ; Naval, 82-4 ; 
speakers Thomas Mann, 71-4* 
others, 84, 87. German Radio, 19-20; 
Propaganda, 19-20,26-36 passim, 196; 
" Broadcasting Defence,' 3 171, 174 ; 
" Criminals," 37, 46-7, 51-8, 60-2, 
79 ; " Detection," 59 ; Directorate, 
27-8; "Freedom Stations," 93, 
130-8; Intelligence, 94, 96, 99 J In- 
stitute for Research, 66-7 ; Jamming, 
38-9, 171-4 5 Reichsrundjunkgesell- 
schaft, 27, 94, 171 ; signature tunes, 
30, 91. Broadcasts to foreign 
countries, campaign against Belgium, 
Holland, France, 104, 111-26 passim. 
Stations : Deutschlandsender, 172-3 ; 
Donausender, 97 ; Europasender, 93- 
95 ; Or t sender, 101 ; Zeesen, 28, 52, 92 

Giraudoux, Jean, 106 

Goebbels, Dr., 33-4, 52, 59, 61-2, 91, 
97, 182, 183, 235-236 

Gordon Walker, Patrick, opp. 81, 84 

Greece: B.B.C. broadcasts, 209-10; 
Russian broadcasts, 210 

Greene, H., 87 

Guy, Charles (Radio Paris), 145 

Hacha, Pres., 208 
Hadamowsky, Eugen, 19, 57 

Hill, A. V., 75 
Hinkel, 28, 32 

Hitler, Adolf, quotations, 7, 9, 19, 25, 
64; 8-1 1 passim, 16-18, 63-8, 143, 

220 

Hitlerdeutsch, 8 

Holland: B.B.C. broadcasts, Radio 

Orange and de Brandaris, 205-6 ; 

German campaign, xix-8; 188, 191, 

202,205,235 
Hugo, Victor, 72 



ulian, 75 

Intelligence, B.B.C., 99, 183-5 ; Ger- 
man, 94, 99 



Italy: B.B.C. broadcasts, 197-9; 
speakers Colonel Stevens, 193-9; 
Cittadino Britanmco, Candidus, 198 ; 
Jamming, 171-4, 188, 199, 221 ; 
Radio Criminals, 196 ; Radio Romp, 
campaign against France, 131, 133 ; 
German control, 194-5; on damage 
to London, 195; Ezra Pound, 92; 
Mario Appelius, 194 

Jamming, 39, 106, 145, 171-6, 188, 229 
ews, 215-7 > set8 confiscated, 208 
ohst, Hanns, 70 
onasen, J. Schanche (Prison Post), 
203 

Jugoslavia : B.B.C. broadcasts, 209-10 ; 
7i> I" 

Kirkpatrick, Ivone, 75-6, 97-9, 189 
Koestler, Arthur, 123, 136 

Laski, Prof. Harold, 85 

Laval, Pierre, 139, 156, 165 

Leeper, R, A., 99 

Lenin, V. I., 212 

Lewis, Wyndham (on Hitler), 17-18 

Ley, Dr., 200-201 

Listeners' Reports, etc., &gean, 188 ; 
Belgium, 200, 205 ; Czechoslovakia, 
200, 206-8 ; France, 53, 82, 107, 131, 
142, 146-7* 150-5* 185, 192-3 ; Ger- 
many, 52, 193; Greece, 209-210; 
Holland, 191, 205; Italy, 196-7; 
Norway, 203-6 ; Portugal, 223 ; 
Spain, 221-2 ; Sweden, 53, 220 

Lloyd George, D., 8, n 

London Agreement, 16 

London Calling Europe, 188*93 > Man 
in the Street, 189 ; Col. Britton, 189- 
193 ; President Benes and Sir 
Stafford Cripps, 192 ; the * V ' cam- 
paign, 82-3, 190-3 

Ludendorff, ., n, 17 

Luxembourg, Radio, 33-4, in, 123 

MacDonald, Ramsay, 15 

Mann, Thomas, 7, 54, 71-4, opp. 80 

Marin, Jean, 158 

Masaryk, Jan, 208 

Maugham, Somerset, 104-5, 109, 139 

Monitoring Service, B.B.C., 180-2 

Moravec, Col., 202 

Morse bulletins, 173, 176 

Moscow Radio, 26, 122, 127, 206-9, 

2ii-% passim 
Mumford, Lewis, 12 
Mussolini, Benito, z6, 131, 148 

News Agencies, 185 
Newsome, N. K, opp. 96, 97 
Norway : B.B.C. broadcasts, 82, 203-4 > 
jamming, 172 ; German broadcasts, 96 



INDEX 



*43 



Oberte, Jean, 158, opp. 145 

Paris Radio: German-controlled, 26, 
96, 137-8, 143-6; Les Francais de 
France parlent aux Emigre's, 145 ; 
Jeunesse Nationale Populaire, 147-8 ; 
On ' V * campaign, 193 ; Frieorich 
Sieburg, 143-4 > Dr. Friedrich, 
146; Marcel De'at, 144; Charles 
Dieudonne', 144 ; Charles Guy, 145 ; 
jamming London, 175 

Pftain, Marshal, 119, 139-40, 147, 149 ; 
Jammed, 174 

Philip, Andre, 149 

Pickthorn, Kenneth, 75 

Plugge, Capt., M.P., 98 

Poland : B.B.C. broadcasts, Radio Pol- 
skie, 200, 209; Russian broadcasts, 
209, 217 

Political Warfare Executive, 97-9 

Portugal, 185, 188, 221, 223 

Pound, Ezra Radio Rome, 92 

Provost, J., 116 

Rabache, 85 

Radio criminals- French, 143, 155-6 ; 

German, 37, 46-7, 51-8, 60-2, 79 ; 

Italian, 196-7, 203-23 passim* see 

illustration facing p. 145 
Rakosi, 209 
Raskin, Dr., 28-9, 32 
Reith, Sir John, 18 

Reynaud, Paul, 119, 121, 123, 132, 134- 
^ I35> 138, 140 
Roosevelt, Pres., 32, 154-5 
Roumania, 206 
Russia, see under Moscow 

"Secret Stations," Germany to England, 
124, 126 ; see also Freedom Stations 



Segerstedt, Dr., 220 

Sevevlina, Lydia, 217 ( 

Sieburg, Friedrich, opp.So, 95, 143-4 

Simon, Sir John, 15, 22, 23 

Simovitch, Gen., 210 

Smith, Howard K., 60 

Spain : B.B.C. broadcasts La Voz de 

Londres, 221-2 ; 101 
Stamp, Sir Josiah, 12 
Stevens, Col., 87, 193-9 
Sweden: B.B.C. broadcasts, 220-1 
Switzerland, 155, 221 

The Times, 18 

Torres, Antonio, 222 

Transmitters : B.B.C. medium wave, 
48-51 ; long-wave European, 70 ; 
short wave, 176^805 German, pre- 
war, 19 ', war-time, 95, 100-101 j 
French, 108, 142 j Russian, 212 

U.S.A., 18, 26, 155, 171, 132 ; Boston, 
203, 206 ; N.B.C. from London 
Fred Bate, 134 ; A. A. Berle, 199 ; 
Bound Brook, 136 ; Monitoring, 182 

U.S.S.R., see Moscow Radio 

' V ' campaign, 82, 190-3 
Versailles Treaty, n 
Vichy Radio, 144-7 
Volkischer Beobachter, 17 

Wavelengths, B.B.C., 38, 171, 182, 

196 

Weidenfeld, Arthur, 57 
Wired Wireless, 86 
Wodehouse, P. G., 137 
Woodruff, Douglas, 223 

Zulueta, Fr., 223 




ETE